miRNA-221 and miRNA-222 synergistically function to promote vascular calcification

Neil Mackenzie, K. A. Staines, Dongxing Zhu, P. Genever, Vicky MacRae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vascular calcification shares many similarities with skeletal mineralisation and involves the phenotypic trans-differentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) to osteoblastic cells within a calcified environment. Various microRNAs (miRs) are known to regulate cell differentiation; however, their role in mediating VSMC calcification is not fully understood. miR-microarray analysis revealed the significant down-regulation of a range of miRs following nine days in culture, including miR-199b, miR-29a, miR-221, miR-222 and miR-31 (p < 0.05). Subsequent studies investigated the specific role of the miR-221/222 family in VSMC calcification. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction data confirmed the down-regulation of miR-221 (32.4%; p < 0.01) and miR-222 (15.7%; p < 0.05). VSMCs were transfected with mimics of miR-221 and miR-222, individually and in combination. Increased calcium deposition was observed in the combined treatment (two-fold; p < 0.05) but not in individual treatments. Runx2 and Msx2 expression was increased during calcification, but no difference in expression was observed following transfection with miR mimics. Interestingly, miR-221 and miR-222 mimics induced significant changes in ectonucleotide phosphodiesterase 1 (Enpp1) and Pit-1 expression, suggesting that these miRs may modulate VSMC calcification through cellular inorganic phosphate and pyrophosphate levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-216
JournalCell Biochemistry and Function
Issue number2
Early online date8 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'miRNA-221 and miRNA-222 synergistically function to promote vascular calcification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this