LncRNA ENST00113 promotes proliferation, survival, and migration by activating PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway in atherosclerosis

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Abstract

Background:

Atherosclerosis is one of the most common cardiovascular disorders. The dysfunction of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and endothelial cells (ECs) are 2 key factors in the formation of atherosclerosis. This study aims to find strategies to prevent VSMCs and ECs dysfunction for the treatment of atherosclerosis.

Methods:

We investigated the expression patterns of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in 2 pairs of serum samples from both atherosclerosis patients and healthy volunteers through microarray analysis. Then we selected the most up-regulated lncRNA ENAST00113 (lnc00113) to further verify its roles in atherosclerosis. VSMCs, and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) transfected with small interfering RNA (siRNAs) (si-00113-1, si-00113-1) and a negative control (si-NC) were cultured. MTT assay, Caspase 3 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) assay, and wound healing assay were performed to evaluate whether lnc00113 had an effect on proliferation, apoptosis, and migration ability. Further, the correlation between lnc00113 and PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway was explored.

Results:

Microarray results indicated that 243 lncRNAs were up-regulated and 187 lncRNAs were down-regulated. Therefore, we chose the most up-regulated lncRNA ENST (lnc00113) to further explore its roles in atherosclerosis. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) results showed that the expression of lnc00113 was highly increased in atherosclerosis patients. In vitro experiment demonstrated that lnc00113 down-regulation significantly suppressed VSMCs and HUVECs proliferation, survival, and migration. Furthermore, we found that the protein expressions of phosphorylated-PI3K (p-PI3K), phosphorylated-Akt (p-Akt), phosphorylated-mTOR (p-mTOR), and bcl-2 in HUVECs cells transfected with si-00113-1 or si-00113-2 were dramatically decreased compared with si-NC-transfected cells and control cells. However, the total- PI3K (t-PI3K), total-Akt (t-Akt), and total-mTOR (t-mTOR) protein expressions were not changed, indicating that lnc00113 could activate PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway in atherosclerosis.

Conclusions:

This finding identified an important role of lnc00113 in VSMCs and HUVECs that promotes cell proliferation, survival, and migration by activating PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway, which could probably serve as a promising therapeutic target for atherosclerosis.

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