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Yun Zhang, Fukang Yuan, Lin Liu, Zufeng Chen, Xiaoyun Ma, Zhen Lin, Jun Zou; The Role of the miR-21/SPRY2 Axis in Modulating Proangiogenic Factors, Epithelial Phenotypes, and Wound Healing in Corneal Epithelial Cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(12):3854-3862. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.19-27013.
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Subconjunctival injection of antagomir-21 attenuates the progression of corneal neovascularization. We examined the underlying mechanism by investigating the regulation of microRNA (miR)-21 expression and the involvement of miR-21 in the homeostasis of corneal epithelial cells.
Corneal epithelial cells were cultured with TGF-β1 and/or under hypoxia conditions. miR-21 expression was measured by quantitative PCR. The direct targets of miR-21 were validated by the 3′-UTR luciferase reporter assay. Alterations of proangiogenic signaling and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype after miR-21/Sprouty2 (SPRY2) knockdown were examined by Western blotting. The effect of conditioned medium on angiogenesis was assessed using the tube formation assay. Wound healing was evaluated by the migration and scratch assays.
TGF-β1 or hypoxia upregulated miR-21, and miR-21 silencing abolished TGF-β1/hypoxia-induced hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1α and VEGF expression. miR-21 inhibited SPRY2 by directly targeting its 3′-UTR. Simultaneous silencing of miR-21 and SPRY2 significantly upregulated p-ERK, HIF-1α, and VEGF and promoted angiogenesis. Induction of miR-21 or inhibition of SPRY2 reduced the levels of cytokeratin (CK)-3 and CK-12 and promoted EMT. Transwell and wound healing assays indicated that miR-21 promoted cell migration.
TGF-β1 or hypoxia induced miR-21 and inhibited SPRY2, thereby enhancing proangiogenic signaling, suppressing the epithelial phenotype, and promoting wound healing in corneal epithelial cells.
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