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eISSN: 1643-3750

MicroRNA-214-3p Regulates Hypoxia-Mediated Pulmonary Artery Smooth Muscle Cell Proliferation and Migration by Targeting ARHGEF12

Xi-Qian Xing, Bo Li, Shuang-Lan Xu, Jie Liu, Chun-Fang Zhang, Jiao Yang

(Department of Respiratory Medicine, Fourth Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Second People’s Hospital of Yunnan Province, Kunming, Yunnan, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:5738-5746

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.915709

Published: 2019-08-02

BACKGROUND: miR-214-3p has been found to inhibit proliferation and migration in cancer cells. The objective of this study was to determine whether ARHGEF12 is involved in miR-214-3p-mediated suppression of proliferation and migration of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs).
MATERIAL AND METHODS: PASMCs were cultured under normoxia or hypoxia. miR-214-3p mimics or inhibitors were transiently transfected into PASMCs. Proliferation, apoptosis, and migration of PASMCs were evaluated using MTT assay, flow cytometry, and Boyden chamber apparatus. Western blot analysis was used to examine expression of Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor 12 (ARHGEF12), c-fos, c-jun, and caspase-3. Luciferase reporter assay was used to test the direct regulation of miR-214-3p on the 3’-untranslated region (UTR) of ARHGEF12.
RESULTS: miR-214-3p was significantly upregulated in hypoxia-treated PASMCs. Knockdown of miR-214-3p significantly attenuated hypoxia-induced proliferation and migration in PASMCs and promoted apoptosis, whereas this effect was aggravated by overexpression of miR-214-3p. In addition, dual-luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that ARHGEF12 is a direct target gene of miR-214-3p. The protein levels of ARHGEF12 were downregulated after knockdown of miR-214-3p in PASMCs. Rescue experiment results indicated that decreased proliferation of PASMCs resulted from knockdown of miR-214-3p were partially reversed by silencing of ARHGEF12 by siRNA. Furthermore, knockdown of miR-214-3p reduced expression of c-jun and c-fos, but increased expression of caspase-3 in PASMCs under hypoxia.
CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, these results indicate that miR-214-3p acts as a novel regulator of hypoxia-induced proliferation and migration by directly targeting ARHGEF12 and dysregulating c-jun and c-fos in PASMCs, and may be a potential therapeutic target for treating pulmonary hypertension.

Keywords: Hypertension, Pulmonary, MicroRNAs, Rho Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors