© 2014 Wen et al.MicroRNAs have been appreciated in various cellular functions, including the regulation of angiogenesis. Mesenchymalstem-cells (MSCs) transplanted to the MI heart improve cardiac function through paracrine-mediated angiogenesis. However, whether microRNAs regulate MSC induced angiogenesis remains to be clarified. Using microRNA microarray analysis, we identified a microRNA expression profile in hypoxia-treated MSCs and observed that among all dysregulated microRNAs, microRNA-377 was decreased the most significantly. We also validated that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a target of microRNA-377 using dual-luciferase reporter assay and Western-blotting. Knockdown of endogenous microRNA-377 promoted tube formation in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. We then engineered rat MSCs with lentiviral vectors to either overexpress microRNA-377 (MSCmiR-377) or knockdown microRNA-377 (MSCAnti-377) to investigate whether microRNA-377 regulated MSC-induced myocardial angiogenesis, using MSCs infected with lentiviral empty vector to serve as controls (MSCNull). Four weeks after implantation of the microRNA-engineered MSCs into the infarcted rat hearts, the vessel density was significantly increased in MSCAnti-377-hearts, and this was accompanied by reduced fibrosis and improved myocardial function as compared to controls. Adverse effects were observed in MSCmiR-377-treated hearts, including reduced vessel density, impaired myocardial function, and increased fibrosis in comparison with MSCNull-group. These findings indicate that hypoxia-responsive microRNA-377 directly targets VEGF in MSCs, and knockdown of endogenous microRNA-377 promotes MSC-induced angiogenesis in the infarcted myocardium. Thus, microRNA-377 may serve as a novel therapeutic target for stem cell-based treatment of ischemic heart disease.
Wen, Z., Huang, W., Feng, Y., Cai, W., Wang, Y., Wang, X., … Wang, Y. (2014). MicroRNA-377 regulates mesenchymal stem cell-induced angiogenesis in ischemic hearts by targeting VEGF. PLoS ONE, 9(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0104666