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JCI Insight. 2018 Aug 9;3(15). pii: 121739. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.121739. eCollection 2018 Aug 9.

Marked disparity of microRNA modulation by cGMP-selective PDE5 versus PDE9 inhibitors in heart disease.

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Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Cellular and Molecular Medicine Graduate Program, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Institute of Physiology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.
Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


MicroRNAs (miRs) posttranscriptionally regulate mRNA and its translation into protein, and are considered master controllers of genes modulating normal physiology and disease. There is growing interest in how miRs change with drug treatment, and leveraging this for precision guided therapy. Here we contrast 2 closely related therapies, inhibitors of phosphodiesterase type 5 or type 9 (PDE5-I, PDE9-I), given to mice subjected to sustained cardiac pressure overload (PO). Both inhibitors augment cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) to activate protein kinase G, with PDE5-I regulating nitric oxide (NO) and PDE9-I natriuretic peptide-dependent signaling. While both produced strong phenotypic improvement of PO pathobiology, they surprisingly showed binary differences in miR profiles; PDE5-I broadly reduces more than 120 miRs, including nearly half those increased by PO, whereas PDE9-I has minimal impact on any miR (P < 0.0001). The disparity evolves after pre-miR processing and is organ specific. Lastly, even enhancing NO-coupled cGMP by different methods leads to altered miR regulation. Thus, seemingly similar therapeutic interventions can be barcoded by profound differences in miR signatures, and reversing disease-associated miR changes is not required for therapy success.


Cardiology; Cell Biology; Heart failure; Noncoding RNAs; Phosphodiesterases

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