Human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAECs) have the potential to undergo fibrogenic endothelial–mesenchymal transition (EndMT), which results in matrix-producing fibroblasts and thereby contributes to the pathogenesis of cardiac fibrosis. Recently, the profibrotic cytokine transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is shown to be the crucial pathogenic driver which has been verified to induce EndMT. C-Ski is an important regulator of TGF-β signaling. However, the detailed role of c-Ski and the molecular mechanisms by which c-Ski affects TGF-β-induced EndMT in HCAECs are not largely elucidated. In the present study, we treated HCAECs with TGF-β of different concentrations to induce EndMT. We found that overexpression of c-Ski in HCAECs either blocked EndMT via hindering Vimentin, Snail, Slug, and Twist expression while enhancing CD31 expression, with or without TGF-β treatment. In contrast, suppression of c-Ski further enhanced EndMT. Currently, miRNA expression disorder has been frequently reported associating with cardiac fibrosis. By using online tools, we regarded miR-155 as a candidate miRNA that could target c-Ski, which was verified using luciferase assays. C-Ski expression was negatively regulated by miR-155. TGF-β-induced EndMT was inhibited by miR-155 silence; the effect of TGF-β on Vimentin, CD31, Snail, Slug, and Twist could be partially restored by miR-155. Altogether, these findings will shed light on the role and mechanism by which miR-155 regulates TGF-β-induced HCAECs EndMT via c-Ski to affect cardiac fibrosis, and miR-155/c-Ski may represent novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets in the treatment of cardiac fibrosis.
Wang, J., He, W., Xu, X., Guo, L., Zhang, Y., Han, S., & Shen, D. (2017). The mechanism of TGF-β/miR-155/c-Ski regulates endothelial–mesenchymal transition in human coronary artery endothelial cells. Bioscience Reports, 37(4). https://doi.org/10.1042/BSR20160603