Therapeutic Angiogenesis by Ultrasound-Mediated MicroRNA-126-3p Delivery
Objective—MicroRNAs are involved in many critical functions, including angiogenesis. Ultrasound-targeted microbubble destruction (UTMD) is a noninvasive technique for targeted vascular transfection of plasmid DNA and may be well suited for proangiogenic microRNA delivery. We aimed to investigate UTMD of miR-126-3p for therapeutic angiogenesis in chronic ischemia.
Approach and Results—The angiogenic potential of miR-126-3p was tested in human umbilical vein endothelial cells in vitro. UTMD of miR-126-3p was tested in vivo in Fischer-344 rats before and after chronic left femoral artery ligation, evaluating target knockdown, miR-126-3p and miR-126-5p expression, phosphorylated Tie2 levels, microvascular perfusion, and vessel density. In vitro, miR-126-3p–transfected human umbilical vein endothelial cells showed repression of sprouty-related protein-1 and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase regulatory subunit 2, negative regulators of vascular endothelial growth factor and angiopoietin-1 signaling, increased phosphorylated Tie2 mediated by knockdown of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase regulatory subunit 2 and greater angiogenic potential mediated by both vascular endothelial growth factor/vascular endothelial growth factor R2 and angiopoietin-1 /Tie2 effects. UTMD of miR-126-3p resulted in targeted vascular transfection, peaking early after delivery and lasting for >3 days, and resulting in inhibition of sprouty-related protein-1 and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase regulatory subunit 2, with minimal uptake in remote organs. Finally, UTMD of miR-126-3p to chronic ischemic hindlimb muscle resulted in improved perfusion, vessel density, enhanced arteriolar formation, pericyte coverage, and phosphorylated Tie2 levels, without affecting miR-126-5p or delta-like 1 homolog levels.
Conclusions—UTMD of miR-126 results in improved tissue perfusion and vascular density in the setting of chronic ischemia by repressing sprouty-related protein-1 and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase regulatory subunit 2 and enhancing vascular endothelial growth factor and angiopoietin-1 signaling, with no effect on miR-126-5p. UTMD is a promising platform for microRNA delivery, with applications for therapeutic angiogenesis.
- Received March 3, 2014.
- Accepted September 2, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.