Reduced microRNA-503 expression augments lung fibroblast VEGF production in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Jun Ikari, Amy J. Nelson, Jannah Obaid, Alvaro Giron-Martinez, Kumiko Ikari, Fumihiko Makino, Shunichiro Iwasawa, Yoko Gunji, Maha Farid, Xingqi Wang, Hesham Basma, Dawn Demeo, Carol Feghali-Bostwick, Olaf Holz, Klaus Rabe, Xiangde Liu, Stephen I. Rennard

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17 Scopus citations


Alterations in microRNA (miRNA) expression may contribute to COPD pathogenesis. In COPD, lung fibroblast repair functions are altered in multiple ways, including extracellular mediator release. Our prior study revealed miR-503 expression is decreased in COPD lung fibroblasts, although the exact role played by miR-503 is undetermined. The current study examined a role of miR-503 in cytokine, growth factor and fibronectin production by lung fibroblasts from patients with and without COPD. Primary adult lung fibroblasts were isolated from patients with or without COPD. MiR-503 expression and interleukin (IL)-6, -8, PGE2, HGF, KGF, VEGF and fibronectin release were examined with or without inflammatory cytokines, IL-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. MiR-503 expression was decreased in COPD lung fibroblasts. The expression of miR-503 was positively correlated with %FVC, %FEV1, and %DLco as well as IL-6, -8, PGE2, HGF, KGF, and VEGF in the absence or presence of IL-1ß/TNF-α. In addition, IL-8 and VEGF release from COPD lung fibroblasts were increased compared to those from control. Exogenous miR-503 inhibited VEGF release from primary adult and fetal lung fibroblasts but not IL-8 release. As expected, COPD fibroblasts proliferated more slowly than control fibroblasts. MiR-503 did not affect proliferation of either control or COPD lung fibroblasts. MiR-503 inhibition of VEGF protein production and mRNA was mediated by direct binding to the 3’ untranslated region of VEGF mRNA. Endogenous miR-503 was differently regulated by exogenous stimulants associated with COPD pathogenesis, including IL-1ß/TNF-α, TGF-ß1 and PGE2. Endogenous miR-503 inhibition augmented VEGF release by IL-1ß/TNF-α and TGF-ß1 but not by PGE2, demonstrating selectivity of miR-503 regulation of VEGF. In conclusions, reduced miR-503 augments VEGF release from lung fibroblasts from patients with COPD. Since VEGF contributes to disturbed vasculature in COPD, altered miR-503 production might play a role in modulating fibroblast-mediated vascular homeostasis in COPD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0184039
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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