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BMC Med Genomics. 2011 Nov 2;4:78. doi: 10.1186/1755-8794-4-78.

MicroRNA profiling of diverse endothelial cell types.

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  • 1Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA.



MicroRNAs are ~22-nt long regulatory RNAs that serve as critical modulators of post-transcriptional gene regulation. The diversity of miRNAs in endothelial cells (ECs) and the relationship of this diversity to epithelial and hematologic cells is unknown. We investigated the baseline miRNA signature of human ECs cultured from the aorta (HAEC), coronary artery (HCEC), umbilical vein (HUVEC), pulmonary artery (HPAEC), pulmonary microvasculature (HPMVEC), dermal microvasculature (HDMVEC), and brain microvasculature (HBMVEC) to understand the diversity of miRNA expression in ECs.


We identified 166 expressed miRNAs, of which 3 miRNAs (miR-99b, miR-20b and let-7b) differed significantly between EC types and predicted EC clustering. We confirmed the significance of these miRNAs by RT-PCR analysis and in a second data set by Sylamer analysis. We found wide diversity of miRNAs between endothelial, epithelial and hematologic cells with 99 miRNAs shared across cell types and 31 miRNAs unique to ECs. We show polycistronic miRNA chromosomal clusters have common expression levels within a given cell type.


EC miRNA expression levels are generally consistent across EC types. Three microRNAs were variable within the dataset indicating potential regulatory changes that could impact on EC phenotypic differences. MiRNA expression in endothelial, epithelial and hematologic cells differentiate these cell types. This data establishes a valuable resource characterizing the diverse miRNA signature of ECs.

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