Molecular interplay between microRNA-34a and sirtuin1 in hyperglycemia-mediated impaired angiogenesis in endothelial cells: Effects of metformins

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Impaired angiogenesis is a prominent risk factor that contributes to the development of diabetes-associated cardiovascular disease. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small noncoding RNAs, are implicated as important regulators of vascular function, including endothelial cell differentiation, proliferation, and angiogenesis. In silico analysis and in vitro studies indicate that silent information regulator 1 (SIRT1) is a potential target for endothelial cell-specific miRNAs. In this study, we investigated the molecular crosstalk between miR-34a, the protein product of SIRT1 (sirtuin1), and the antidiabetic drug, metformin, in hyperglycemia-mediated impaired angiogenesis in mouse microvascular endothelial cells (MMECs). MMECs were cultured, transfected with either a miR-34a inhibitor or mimic in normal glucose (11 mM) or high glucose (HG, 40 mM) in the presence or absence of metformin. The expression of miR-34a, sirtuin1, and their signaling targets was evaluated. miR-34a expression is upregulated in a hyperglycemic milieu and parallels changes in the expression of sirtuin1, post-translational modification of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (phospho/acetylation), as well as an impairment in angiogenesis. The presence of metformin, or the inhibition of miR-34a using an anti-miR-34a inhibitor, increases the expression of sirtuin1 and attenuates the impairment in angiogenesis in HG-exposed MMECs. In contrast, overexpression of a miR-34amimic prevents metformin-mediated protection. These data indicate that miR-34a, via the regulation of sirtuin1 expression, has an anti-angiogenic action in MMECs, which can be modulated by metformin. In summary, miR-34a represents both a target whereby metformin mediates its vasculoprotective actions and also a potential therapeutic target for the prevention/treatment of diabetic vascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-323
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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