Targeting miR-27a/VE-cadherin interactions rescues cerebral cavernous malformations in mice.

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Journal Article
PLoS biology, 2020, 18, (6)
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Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are vascular lesions predominantly developing in the central nervous system (CNS), with no effective treatments other than surgery. Loss-of-function mutation in CCM1/krev interaction trapped 1 (KRIT1), CCM2, or CCM3/programmed cell death 10 (PDCD10) causes lesions that are characterized by abnormal vascular integrity. Vascular endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin), a major regulator of endothelial cell (EC) junctional integrity is strongly disorganized in ECs lining the CCM lesions. We report here that microRNA-27a (miR-27a), a negative regulator of VE-cadherin, is elevated in ECs isolated from mouse brains developing early CCM lesions and in cultured ECs with CCM1 or CCM2 depletion. Furthermore, we show miR-27a acts downstream of kruppel-like factor (KLF)2 and KLF4, two known key transcription factors involved in CCM lesion development. Using CD5-2 (a target site blocker [TSB]) to prevent the miR-27a/VE-cadherin mRNA interaction, we present a potential therapy to increase VE-cadherin expression and thus rescue the abnormal vascular integrity. In CCM1- or CCM2-depleted ECs, CD5-2 reduces monolayer permeability, and in Ccm1 heterozygous mice, it restores dermal vessel barrier function. In a neonatal mouse model of CCM disease, CD5-2 normalizes vasculature and reduces vascular leakage in the lesions, inhibits the development of large lesions, and significantly reduces the size of established lesions in the hindbrain. Furthermore, CD5-2 limits the accumulation of inflammatory cells in the lesion area. Our work has established that VE-cadherin is a potential therapeutic target for normalization of the vasculature and highlights that targeting miR-27a/VE-cadherin interaction by CD5-2 is a potential novel therapy for the devastating disease, CCM.
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