The fine balance between proliferation and differentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) is indispensable for the maintenance of healthy blood vessels, whereas an increase in proliferation participates in pathologic cardiovascular events such as atherosclerosis and restenosis. Here we report that microRNA-34c (miR-34c) targets stem cell factor (SCF) to inhibit VSMC proliferation and neointimal hyperplasia. In an animal model, miR-34c was significantly increased in the rat carotid artery after catheter injury. Transient transfection of miR-34c to either VSMCs or A10 cells inhibited cell survival by inducing apoptosis, which was accompanied by an increase in expression of p21, p27, and Bax. Transfection of miR-34c also attenuated VSMC migration. Bioinformatics showed that SCF is a target candidate of miR-34c. miR-34c down-regulated luciferase activity driven by a vector containing the 3'-untranslated region of SCF in a sequence-specific manner. Forced expression of SCF in A10 cells induced proliferation and migration, whereas knocking-down of SCF reduced cell survival and migration. miR-34c antagomir-induced VSMC proliferation was blocked by SCF siRNA. Delivery of miR-34c to rat carotid artery attenuated the expression of SCF and blocked neointimal hyperplasia. These results suggest that miR-34c is a new modulator of VSMC proliferation and that it inhibits neointima formation by regulating SCF.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.