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Author Notes:

Email Address: David E Green : degree4@emory.edu

Conceived and designed the experiments: DG TM BK CS CH. Performed the experiments: DG TM BK.

Analyzed the data: DG TM BK CS CH. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: DG BK CH. Wrote the paper: DG TM BK CS CH.

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by the Veterans Affairs Career Development -02 (1 IK2 BX001707-01A1)- http://www.research.va.gov/funding/- to DG, the National Institutes of Health R01 (HL102167) http://www.grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r01.htm- to CH, and the Veterans Affairs Merit Review Award (101BX001910-01) http://www.research.va.gov/funding/ to CH.

PPARγ Ligands Attenuate Hypoxia-Induced Proliferation in Human Pulmonary Artery Smooth Muscle Cells through Modulation of MicroRNA-21.


Journal Title:



Volume 10, Number 7


, Pages e0133391-e0133391

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a progressive and often fatal disorder whose pathogenesis involves pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell (PASMC) proliferation. Although modern PH therapies have significantly improved survival, continued progress rests on the discovery of novel therapies and molecular targets. MicroRNA (miR)-21 has emerged as an important non-coding RNA that contributes to PH pathogenesis by enhancing vascular cell proliferation, however little is known about available therapies that modulate its expression. We previously demonstrated that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) agonists attenuated hypoxia-induced HPASMC proliferation, vascular remodeling and PH through pleiotropic actions on multiple targets, including transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN). PTEN is a validated target of miR-21. We therefore hypothesized that antiproliferative effects conferred by PPARγ activation are mediated through inhibition of hypoxia-induced miR-21 expression. Human PASMC monolayers were exposed to hypoxia then treated with the PPARγ agonist, rosiglitazone (RSG,10 μM), or in parallel, C57Bl/6J mice were exposed to hypoxia then treated with RSG. RSG attenuated hypoxic increases in miR-21 expression in vitro and in vivo and abrogated reductions in PTEN and PASMC proliferation. Antiproliferative effects of RSG were lost following siRNA-mediated PTEN depletion. Furthermore, miR-21 mimic decreased PTEN and stimulated PASMC proliferation, whereas miR-21 inhibition increased PTEN and attenuated hypoxia-induced HPASMC proliferation. Collectively, these results demonstrate that PPARγ ligands regulate proliferative responses to hypoxia by preventing hypoxic increases in miR-21 and reductions in PTEN. These findings further clarify molecular mechanisms that support targeting PPARγ to attenuate pathogenic derangements in PH.

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