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Cell Physiol Biochem. 2017;41(4):1555-1571. doi: 10.1159/000470822. Epub 2017 Mar 27.

MicroRNA-9 Inhibits NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation in Human Atherosclerosis Inflammation Cell Models through the JAK1/STAT Signaling Pathway.

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Department of Cardiology, No. 9 People's Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.
Department of Cardiology, Shanghai Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.



MicroRNA-9 (miR-9) is involved in inflammatory reaction in atherosclerosis; however, its function and regulatory mechanisms remain unclear. We aimed to uncover the exact roles of miR-9 and downstream signaling pathways using in vitro human atherosclerosis models.


We used oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL)-stimulated human THP-1 derived macrophages, oxLDL-stimulated human primary peripheral blood monocytes and lipopolysaccharides (LPS) or Alum-stimulated human THP-1 derived macrophages as in vitro atherosclerosis inflammation models. Transient transfection of over-expression vectors, small interference RNAs (siRNAs) or antisense oligonucleotides was used to regulate intracellular protein or miR-9 levels. Cell responses and signal transduction were detected by multiple assays including Western blotting, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and luciferase reporter assay.


MiR-9 inhibited while anti-miR-9 antisense oligonucleotides induced interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) and NLRP3 inflammasome activation in all in vitro models. Janus kinase 1 (JAK1) and matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP-13) were identified as the target genes of miR-9. In oxLDL-stimulated human THP-1 derived macrophages, knockdown of JAK1 by siRNA blocked the phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) and mimicked the effects of miR-9. In the same model, JAK1 knockdown blocked the phosphorylation of NF-κB p65 in the nuclei and the phosphorylation of NF-κB IκBα in the cytoplasm.


Our study demonstrated that miR-9 could inhibit activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome and attenuate atherosclerosis-related inflammation, likely through the JAK1/STAT1 signaling pathway. Therefore, miR-9 may serve as a potential therapeutic target for atherosclerosis.


Atherosclerosis; JAK1; NLRP3 inflammasome; STAT1; miR-9

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