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Mol Ther. 2016 Nov;24(11):1939-1948. doi: 10.1038/mt.2016.166. Epub 2016 Aug 22.

Viral Vector-Based Targeting of miR-21 in Cardiac Nonmyocyte Cells Reduces Pathologic Remodeling of the Heart.

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Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Technische Universität München (TUM), Munich, Germany.
Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Technische Universität München (TUM), Munich, Germany; DZHK (German Centre for Cardiovascular Research), partner site Munich Heart Alliance, Munich, Germany. Electronic address:


Systemic inhibition of miR-21 has proven effective against myocardial fibrosis and dysfunction, while studies in cardiac myocytes suggested a protective role in this cell type. Considering potential implications for therapy, we aimed to determine the cell fraction where miR-21 exerts its pathological activity. We developed a viral vector-based strategy for gene targeting of nonmyocyte cardiac cells in vivo and compared global to cardiac myocyte-specific and nonmyocyte-specific deletion of miR-21 in chronic left ventricular pressure overload. Murine moloney virus and serotype 9 of adeno-associated virus were engineered to encode improved Cre recombinase for genetic deletion in miR-21fl/fl mice. Pericardial injection of murine moloney virus-improved Cre recombinase to neonates achieved highly selective genetic ablation of miR-21 in nonmyocyte cardiac cells, identified as cardiac fibroblasts and endothelial cells. Upon left ventricular pressure overload, cardiac function was only preserved in mice with miR-21 deficiency in nonmyocyte cardiac cells, but not in mice with global or cardiac myocyte-specific ablation. Our data demonstrate that miR-21 exerts its pathologic activity directly in cardiac nonmyocytes and encourage further development of antimiR-21 therapy toward cellular tropism.

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