MicroRNA Dysregulation in Pulmonary Arteries from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Relationships with Vascular Remodeling


Pulmonary vascular remodeling is an angiogenic-related process involving changes in smooth muscle cell (SMC) homeostasis, which is frequently observed in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, noncoding RNAs that regulate mRNA expression levels of many genes, leading to the manifestation of cell identity and specific cellular phenotypes. Here, we evaluate the miRNA expression profiles of pulmonary arteries (PAs) of patients with COPD and its relationship with the regulation of SMC phenotypic change. miRNA expression profiles from PAs of 12 patients with COPD, 9 smokers with normal lung function (SK), and 7 nonsmokers (NS) were analyzed using TaqMan Low-Density Arrays. In patients with COPD, expression levels of miR-98, miR-139-5p, miR-146b-5p, and miR-451 were upregulated, as compared with NS. In contrast, miR-197, miR-204, miR-485-3p, and miR-627 were downregulated. miRNA-197 expression correlated with both airflow obstruction and PA intimal enlargement. In an in vitro model of SMC differentiation, miR-197 expression was associated with an SMC contractile phenotype. miR-197 inhibition blocked the acquisition of contractile markers in SMCs and promoted a proliferative/migratory phenotype measured by both cell cycle analysis and wound-healing assay. Using luciferase assays, Western blot, and quantitative PCR, we confirmed that miR-197 targets the transcription factor E2F1. In PAs from patients with COPD, levels of E2F1 were increased as compared with NS. In PAs of patients with COPD, remodeling of the vessel wall is associated with downregulation of miR-197, which regulates SMC phenotype. The effect of miR-197 on PAs might be mediated, at least in part, by the key proproliferative factor, E2F1.

American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology