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Hypoxia-induced miR-210 modulates the inflammatory response and fibrosis upon acute ischemia

Authors: Germana, Zaccagnini; Simona, Greco; Marialucia, Longo; Biagina, Maimone; Christine, Voellenkle; Paola, Fuschi; Matteo, Carrara; Pasquale, Creo; Davide, Maselli; Mario, Tirone; Massimiliano, Mazzone; Carlo, Gaetano; Gaia, Spinetti; Fabio, Martelli

Online: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41419-021-03713-9

Issue: Cell Death Dis. 2021 May 1;12(5):435.


Hypoxia-induced miR-210 is a crucial component of the tissue response to ischemia, stimulating angiogenesis and improving tissue regeneration. Previous analysis of miR-210 impact on the transcriptome in a mouse model of hindlimb ischemia showed that miR-210 regulated not only vascular regeneration functions, but also inflammation. To investigate this event, doxycycline-inducible miR-210 transgenic mice (Tg-210) and anti-miR-210 LNA-oligonucleotides were used. It was found that global miR-210 expression decreased inflammatory cells density and macrophages accumulation in the ischemic tissue. To dissect the underpinning cell mechanisms, Tg-210 mice were used in bone marrow (BM) transplantation experiments and chimeric mice underwent hindlimb ischemia. MiR-210 overexpression in the ischemic tissue was sufficient to increase capillary density and tissue repair, and to reduce inflammation in the presence of Wt-BM infiltrating cells. Conversely, when Tg-210-BM cells migrated in a Wt ischemic tissue, dysfunctional angiogenesis, inflammation, and impaired tissue repair, accompanied by fibrosis were observed. The fibrotic regions were positive for α-SMA, Vimentin, and Collagen V fibrotic markers and for phospho-Smad3, highlighting the activation of TGF-β1 pathway. Identification of Tg-210 cells by in situ hybridization showed that BM-derived cells contributed directly to fibrotic areas, where macrophages co-expressing fibrotic markers were observed. Cell cultures of Tg-210 BM-derived macrophages exhibited a pro-fibrotic phenotype and were enriched with myofibroblast-like cells, which expressed canonical fibrosis markers. Interestingly, inhibitors of TGF-β type-1-receptor completely abrogated this pro-fibrotic phenotype. In conclusion, a context-dependent regulation by miR-210 of the inflammatory response was identified. miR-210 expression in infiltrating macrophages is associated to improved angiogenesis and tissue repair when the ischemic recipient tissue also expresses high levels of miR-210. Conversely, when infiltrating an ischemic tissue with mismatched miR-210 levels, macrophages expressing high miR-210 levels display a pro-fibrotic phenotype, leading to impaired tissue repair, fibrosis, and dysfunctional angiogenesis.