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Cell Physiol Biochem. 2018;49(5):2073-2087. doi: 10.1159/000493717. Epub 2018 Sep 21.

Downregulation of MicroRNA-4463 Attenuates High-Glucose- and Hypoxia-Induced Endothelial Cell Injury by Targeting PNUTS.

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Experimental Medicine Center, the Affiliated Hospital of Southwest Medical University, Luzhou, China.
Collaborative Innovation Center for Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease of Sichuan Province, Southwest Medical University, Luzhou, China.
Department of Thyroid and Vascular Surgery, the Affiliated Hospital of Southwest Medical University, Luzhou, China.
Southwest Medical University, Luzhou, China.



Vascular complications are the main reasons for disability and mortality associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and numerous microRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in this process. Our previous study demonstrated that miR-4463 was increased in the plasma of T2DM patients combined with arteriosclerosis of low extremity artery (ASO). However, the role of miR-4463 remains unclear.


miR-4463 expression in the vascular tissues of patients with ASO and T2DM and in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) was detected by qPCR. Cell survival and apoptosis was analyzed via Cell Counting Kit-8 and flow cytometry assays, respectively. Protein expression was determined by Western blot and protein subcellular localization was detected with immunofluorescence. A dual-luciferase assay was used to elucidate the target gene of miR-4463.


miR-4463 was elevated in the vascular tissues of patients with T2DM and ASO. In HUVECs, both 25 mmol/L glucose (high glucose, HG) and hypoxia induced miR-4463 expression. Downregulation of miR-4463 promoted HUVEC survival and reduced cell apoptosis under HG and/or hypoxic conditions by facilitating the expression of protein phosphatase-1 nuclear targeting subunit (PNUTS), X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), p-AKT, p-Bad, increased the Bcl-2/Bax ratio, as well as downregulated cleaved caspase 3 expression. Mechanistically, we identified PNUTS as a direct target gene of miR-4463. Both the inhibition of AKT phosphorylation and silencing of PNUTS diminished the effect of miR-4463 on HUVEC apoptosis. Moreover, downregulation of miR-4463 enhanced PNUTS to enable PTEN nuclear localization, which resulted in AKT phosphorylation.


Our results suggest that downregulation of miR-4463 attenuates cell apoptosis by directly enhancing PNUTS expression to promote PTEN nuclear localization, subsequently activating AKT signaling pathway in HUVECs under HG and/ or hypoxic conditions.


AKT; Apoptosis; Macrovascular complications; miR-4463

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