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J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2012 Jul;53(1):64-72. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2012.04.003. Epub 2012 Apr 16.

Downregulation of microRNA-126 in endothelial progenitor cells from diabetes patients, impairs their functional properties, via target gene Spred-1.

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Department of Cardiology, Xinhua Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.


Diabetes mellitus (DM) adversely affects the number and function of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). Consequently, there is also a reduction in the repair mechanism of these cells, which is a critical and initiating factor in the development of diabetic vascular disease. The aim of the present study was to analyze miR expression profiles in EPCs from patients with DM and choose the most significantly regulated miR to study its possible role on EPC dysfunction and elucidate its mechanism of action. EPCs were collected from subjects with Type II DM and non-diabetic control subjects. Total RNA was harvested from EPCs, and a total of 5 candidate miRNAs were identified by microarray screening and were quantified by TaqMan real-time PCR. Lentiviral vectors expressing miR-126 and miR-126 inhibitor (anti-miR-126) were transfected into EPCs, and the EPC colony-forming capacity, proliferation activity, migratory activity, differentiation capacity, and apoptotic susceptibility were determined and Western Blotting and mRNA real-time PCR analyses were performed. To study the mechanisms, lentiviral vectors expressing Spred-1 and a short interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting Spred-1 were prepared. Five miRs were aberrantly downregulated in EPCs from DM patients. These miRs included miR-126, miR-21, miR-27a, miR-27b and miR-130a. Anti-miR-126 inhibited EPC proliferation, migration, and enhanced apoptosis. Restored miR-126 expression in EPCs from DM promoted EPC proliferation, migration, and inhibited EPC apoptosis ability. Despite this, miR-126 had no effect on EPC differentiation. miR-126 overexpression significantly downregulated Spred-1 in EPCs. The knockdown of Spred-1 expression in EPCs from DM promoted proliferation, migration, and inhibited apoptosis of the cells. The signal pathway of miR-126 effecting on EPCs is partially mediated through Ras/ERK/VEGF and PI3K/Akt/eNOS regulation. This study provides the first evidence that miR-126 is downregulated in EPCs from diabetic patients, and impairs EPCs-mediated function via its target, Spred-1, and through Ras/ERK/VEGF and PI3K/Akt/eNOS signal pathway.

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