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Circ Res. 2009 Jan 30;104(2):170-8, 6p following 178. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.108.182535. Epub 2008 Dec 18.

miR-133 and miR-30 regulate connective tissue growth factor: implications for a role of microRNAs in myocardial matrix remodeling.

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Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands.


The myocardium of the failing heart undergoes a number of structural alterations, most notably hypertrophy of cardiac myocytes and an increase in extracellular matrix proteins, often seen as primary fibrosis. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is a key molecule in the process of fibrosis and therefore seems an attractive therapeutic target. Regulation of CTGF expression at the promoter level has been studied extensively, but it is unknown how CTGF transcripts are regulated at the posttranscriptional level. Here we provide several lines of evidence to show that CTGF is importantly regulated by 2 major cardiac microRNAs (miRNAs), miR-133 and miR-30. First, the expression of both miRNAs was inversely related to the amount of CTGF in 2 rodent models of heart disease and in human pathological left ventricular hypertrophy. Second, in cultured cardiomyocytes and fibroblasts, knockdown of these miRNAs increased CTGF levels. Third, overexpression of miR-133 or miR-30c decreased CTGF levels, which was accompanied by decreased production of collagens. Fourth, we show that CTGF is a direct target of these miRNAs, because they directly interact with the 3' untranslated region of CTGF. Taken together, our results indicate that miR-133 and miR-30 importantly limit the production of CTGF. We also provide evidence that the decrease of these 2 miRNAs in pathological left ventricular hypertrophy allows CTGF levels to increase, which contributes to collagen synthesis. In conclusion, our results show that both miR-133 and miR-30 directly downregulate CTGF, a key profibrotic protein, and thereby establish an important role for these miRNAs in the control of structural changes in the extracellular matrix of the myocardium.

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