MiR-221 and miR-130a Regulate Lung Airway and Vascular Development

Mujahid, Sana; Nielsen, Heber C.; Volpe, MaryAnn V.
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions play a crucial role in branching morphogenesis, but very little is known about how endothelial cells contribute to this process. Here, we examined how anti-angiogenic miR-221 and pro-angiogenic miR-130a affect airway and vascular development in the fetal lungs. Lung-specific effects of miR-130a and miR-221 were studied in mouse E14 whole lungs cultured for 48 hours with anti-miRs or mimics to miR-130a and miR-221. Anti-miR 221 treated lungs had more distal branch generations with increased Hoxb5 and VEGFR2 around airways. Conversely, mimic 221 treated lungs had reduced airway branching, dilated airway tips and decreased Hoxb5 and VEGFR2 in mesenchyme. Anti-miR 130a treatment led to reduced airway branching with increased Hoxa5 and decreased VEGFR2 in the mesenchyme. Conversely, mimic 130a treated lungs had numerous finely arborized branches extending into central lung regions with diffusely localized Hoxa5 and increased VEGFR2 in the mesenchyme. Vascular morphology was analyzed by GSL-B4 (endothelial cell-specific lectin) immunofluorescence. Observed changes in airway morphology following miR-221 inhibition and miR-130a enhancement were mirrored by changes in vascular plexus formation around the terminal airways. Mouse fetal lung endothelial cells (MFLM-91U) were used to study microvascular cell behavior. Mimic 221 treatment resulted in reduced tube formation and cell migration, where as the reverse was observed with mimic 130a treatment. From these data, we conclude that miR-221 and miR-130a have opposing effects on airway and vascular morphogenesis of the developing lung.


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