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Genes Cancer. 2011 Dec;2(12):1134-8. doi: 10.1177/1947601911423032.

Emerging Role of Micro-RNAs in the Regulation of Angiogenesis.

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Moores UCSD Cancer Center and Department of Pathology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.


During development, angiogenesis occurs as a controlled series of events leading to neovascularization that supports changing tissue requirements. Several pro- and antiangiogenic factors orchestrate a complex, dynamic process to allow initial sprouting and invasion, subsequent pruning and remodeling, and finally maturation and survival of blood vessels. In the last decade, a new class of small RNA molecules termed micro-RNAs (miRs) have emerged as key regulators of several cellular processes including angiogenesis. Micro-RNAs such as miR-132, miR-126, miR-296, miR-145, and miR-92a have been shown to play pro- and antiangiogenic roles in the vasculature of both endothelial cells and perivascular cells. However, in pathological situations such as cancer or inflammation, the same angiogenic signaling pathways and miRs are dysregulated and exploited, typically resulting in poorly organized vessels with leaky and tortuous properties. This article is a brief overview of specific miRs that have been reported to play a role in the vasculature. The authors explore emerging principles that suggest miRs insulate cellular processes from external perturbations and provide robustness to biological systems in the context of angiogenesis.


angiogenic switch; endothelial quiescence; miR-132

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