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

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    Rights statement: © 2013 The Authors. Cell Biochemistry and Function published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-216
JournalCell Biochemistry and Function
Issue number2
Early online date8 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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.

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