Silencing miR-16 Expression Promotes Angiotensin II Stimulated Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Growth

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miRNAs are a class of non-coding endogenous small RNAs that control gene expression at the posttranscriptional level and are involved in cell proliferation, migration and differentiation. Dysregulation of miRNA expression is involved in a variety of human diseases including cardiovascular diseases. miRNAs have been shown to regulate vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) function and play vital roles in hypertension, restenosis and atherosclerosis. Here we reported that miR-16 as one of the miRNAs in the miR-15 family was highly expressed in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and involved in angiotensin II (Ang II) mediated VSMC signalling pathways. Ang II downregulated miR-16 expression in VSMCs. Lentiviral vector-mediated miR-16 knockdown promoted Ang II-induced cell proliferation and migration. Moreover, silencing miR-16 enhanced Ang II-induced cell cycle associated gene expression and promoted Ang II-activated cell proliferative pathways ERK1/2 and p38. Our finding demonstrated for the first time that miR-16 was a potential therapeutic target by participating in the Ang II-associated multiple signalling pathways in cardiovascular diseases.

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