Department of Pharmacology, Xiangya School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410078, China; Hunan Provincial Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Research, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410078, China. Electronic address: [Email]
OBJECTIVE : Growing evidence suggests that endothelial-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) play key roles in pulmonary arterial remodeling during pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), but the underlying mechanisms have yet to be fully understood. miR-27a has been shown to promote proliferation of pulmonary arterial cells during PAH, but its role in EndMT remains unexplored. This study was designed to investigate the role and underlying mechanism of miR-27a in EndMT during PAH. METHODS : Rats were exposed in hypoxia (10% O2) for 3 weeks to induce PAH, and human pulmonary artery endothelial cells (HPAECs) were exposed in hypoxia (1% O2) for 48 h to induce EndMT. Immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, immunofluorescence, real-time PCR and Western blot were conducted to detect the expressions of RNAs and proteins, and luciferase assay was used to verify the putative binding site of miR-27a. RESULTS : We found that hypoxia up-regulated miR-27a in the tunica intima of rat pulmonary arteries and HPAECs, and that inhibition of miR-27a suppressed hypoxia-induced EndMT. Furthermore, elevated expression of miR-27a suppressed bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling by targeting Smad5, thereby lessening Id2-mediated repression of the 2 critical mediators of EndMT (Snail and Twist). CONCLUSIONS : Our data unveiled a novel role of miR-27a in EndMT during hypoxia-induced PAH. Thus, targeting of miR-27a-related pathway may be therapeutically harnessed to treat PAH.