Regulation of vascular leak and recovery from ischemic injury by general and VE-cadherin-restricted miRNA antagonists of miR-27

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Journal Article
Blood, 2013, 122 (16), pp. 2911 - 2919
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© 2013 by The American Society of Hematology. Cellular junctions are essential to the normal functioning of the endothelium and control angiogenesis, tissue leak, and inflammation. From a screen of micro RNAs (miRNAs) altered in in vitro angiogenesis, we selected a subset predicted to target junctional molecules. MiR-27a was rapidly downregulated upon stimulation of in vitro angiogenesis, and its level of expression is reduced in neovessels in vivo. The downregulation of miR-27a was essential for angiogenesis because ectopic expression of miR-27a blocked capillary tube formation and angiogenesis. MiR-27a targets the junctional, endothelial-specific cadherin, VE-cadherin. Consistent with this, vascular permeability to vascular endothelial growth factor inmice is reduced by administration of a general miR-27 inhibitor. To determine that VE-cadherin was the dominant target of miR-27a function, we used a novel technology with "Blockmirs," inhibitors that bind to themiR-27 binding site in VE-cadherin. The Blockmir CD5-2 demonstrated specificity for VE-cadherin and inhibited vascular leak in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, CD5-2 reduced edema, increased capillary density, and potently enhanced recovery from ischemic limb injury in mice. The Blockmir technology offers a refinement in the use of miRNAs, especially for therapy. Further, targeting of endothelial junctional molecules by miRNAs has clinical potential, especially in diseases associated with vascular leak.
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