Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(3):515-528. doi:10.7150/ijbs.34517 This issue
Institute of Hypoxia Medicine, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, 325035, China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a cardiopulmonary disease that can lead to heart failure and eventually death. MicroRNAs (miRs) play essential roles during PAH progression; however, their exact mechanism of action remains unclear. Apelin is a small bioactive peptide with a key protective function in the pathogenesis of PAH mediated by binding to the APJ gene. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of miR-335-3p in chronic normobaric hypoxia (CNH)-induced PAH in mice and the potential underlying regulatory mechanism. Adult male C57BL/6 mice were exposed to normoxia (~21% O2) or CNH (~10% O2, 23 h/d) for 5 weeks. MiR-335-3p was significantly increased in lung tissue of CNH-induced PAH mice. Blocking miR-335-3p attenuated CNH-induced PAH and alleviated pulmonary vascular remodeling. Bioinformatics analysis and luciferase reporter assay indicated that nuclear factor-kappa beta (NF-κB) acted as a transcriptional regulator upstream of miR-335-3p. Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate treatment reversed the CNH-induced increase in miR-335-3p expression and diminished CNH-induced PAH. Moreover, p50-/- mice were resistant to CNH-induced PAH. Finally, APJ was identified as a direct targeting gene downstream of miR-335-3p, and pharmacological activation of APJ by its ligand apelin-13 reduced CNH-induced PAH and improved pulmonary vascular remodeling. Our results indicate that NF-κB-mediated transcriptional upregulation of miR-335-3p contributes to the inhibition of APJ and induction of PAH during hypoxia; hence, miR-335-3p could be a potential therapeutic target for hypoxic PAH.
Keywords: NF-κB, Pulmonary arterial hypertension, miR-335-3p, APJ, Hypoxia