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      Pri-microRNA-124 rs531564 polymorphism minor allele increases the risk of pulmonary artery hypertension by abnormally enhancing proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells

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          MicroRNA-124 (miR-124) has been reported to be downregulated in the cells exposed to hypoxia, which was confirmed in our study. We then used online microRNA target prediction tools to identify GRB2, SMAD5, and JAG1 as the candidate target genes of miR-124, and we next validated GRB2 as a direct gene by using luciferase reporter system. We also established the regulatory relationship between miR-124 and GRB2 by showing the negative linear relationship between GRB2 and miR-124 expression. Furthermore, we investigated the miR-124 and GRB2 expression levels of different genotypes including CC (n=30), GC (n=18), and GG (n=4), which supported the hypothesis that the presence of minor allele (C) of rs531564 polymorphism compromised the expression of miR-124. Meanwhile, we also conducted real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis to study the expression of GRB2 among different genotypes or pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) treated with miR-124 mimics, GRB2 small interfering RNA, and miR-124 inhibitors, respectively, and found that introduction of miR-124 or GRB2 small interfering RNA could reduce the expression of GRB2 and inhibit the proliferation of PASMCs, while miR-124 upregulated the expression of GRB2 and promoted the proliferation of PASMCs. A total of 412 COPD patients with PAH (n=182) or without PAH (n=230) were recruited in this study, and more individuals carrying at least one minor allele of rs531564 were found in the COPD patients with PAH than in those without PAH (odds ratio: 0.61, 95% confidence interval: 0.41–0.91; P=0.166). In conclusion, the presence of rs531564 minor allele may increase the risk of PAH in COPD by reducing miR-124 expression, increasing GRB2 expression, and promoting the proliferation of PASMCs.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Standards for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with COPD: a summary of the ATS/ERS position paper.

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            Hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular remodeling: cellular and molecular mechanisms.

            Chronic hypoxic exposure induces changes in the structure of pulmonary arteries, as well as in the biochemical and functional phenotypes of each of the vascular cell types, from the hilum of the lung to the most peripheral vessels in the alveolar wall. The magnitude and the specific profile of the changes depend on the species, sex, and the developmental stage at which the exposure to hypoxia occurred. Further, hypoxia-induced changes are site specific, such that the remodeling process in the large vessels differs from that in the smallest vessels. The cellular and molecular mechanisms vary and depend on the cellular composition of vessels at particular sites along the longitudinal axis of the pulmonary vasculature, as well as on local environmental factors. Each of the resident vascular cell types (ie, endothelial, smooth muscle, adventitial fibroblast) undergo site- and time-dependent alterations in proliferation, matrix protein production, expression of growth factors, cytokines, and receptors, and each resident cell type plays a specific role in the overall remodeling response. In addition, hypoxic exposure induces an inflammatory response within the vessel wall, and the recruited circulating progenitor cells contribute significantly to the structural remodeling and persistent vasoconstriction of the pulmonary circulation. The possibility exists that the lung or lung vessels also contain resident progenitor cells that participate in the remodeling process. Thus the hypoxia-induced remodeling of the pulmonary circulation is a highly complex process where numerous interactive events must be taken into account as we search for newer, more effective therapeutic interventions. This review provides perspectives on each of the aforementioned areas.
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              Diagnosis and assessment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

              The diagnosis and assessment of pulmonary arterial hypertension is a rapidly evolving area, with changes occurring in the definition of the disease, screening and diagnostic techniques, and staging and follow-up assessment. The definition of pulmonary hypertension has been simplified, and is now based on currently available evidence. There has been substantial progress in advancing the imaging techniques and biomarkers used to screen patients for the disease and to follow up their response to therapy. The importance of accurate assessment of right ventricular function in following up the clinical course and response to therapy is more fully appreciated. As new therapies are developed for pulmonary arterial hypertension, screening, prompt diagnosis, and accurate assessment of disease severity become increasingly important. A clear definition of pulmonary hypertension and the development of a rational approach to diagnostic assessment and follow-up using both conventional and new tools will be essential to deriving maximal benefit from our expanding therapeutic armamentarium.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                04 May 2017
                : 12
                : 1351-1361
                Department of Cardiology, The Affiliated Hospital of Guilin Medical University, Guilin, Guangxi, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Quanzhong Li, Department of Cardiology, The Affiliated Hospital of Guilin Medical University, 15#, Lequn Rd, Guilin, Guangxi 541001, People’s Republic of China, Tel +86 773 286 8287, Email pah531564@
                © 2017 Li et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                hypoxia, proliferation, pasmc, copd, pah, rs531564, microrna-124


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