Renal Protection Mediated by Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1α Depends on Proangiogenesis Function of miR-21 by Targeting Thrombospondin 1

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Angiogenesis contributes to the repair process after renal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. In the present study, we tested the role of miR-21 in the angiogenesis induced by hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1α through inhibiting a predicted target gene thrombospondin 1 (TSP-1).


To stabilize HIF-1α, hypoxia (1% O2 for 24 hours) was performed in human umbilical vein endothelial cells and cobalt chloride (CoCl2) was pretreated intraperitoneally 24 hours before renal I/R in mice. Locked nucleic acid modified anti-miR-21 and scrambled control was transfected with hypoxic cells or delivered into the mice via tail vein 1 hour before CoCl2 injection. The kidneys and blood were collected at 24 hours after reperfusion.


HIF-1α induced by hypoxia and CoCl2 upregulated vascular endothelial growth factor and miR-21, and increased angiogenesis. It was found that expression of TSP-1 was inversely related with miR-21 in vitro and in vivo. Targeting of TSP-1 by miR-21 was further confirmed in vitro. Furthermore, HIF-1α improved renal function, accompanied with increased angiogenesis after I/R injury in mice. The protective effect of HIF-1α was attenuated by inhibition of miR-21.


HIF-1α induced angiogenesis by upregulating not only vascular endothelial growth factor but also miR-21 via inhibiting a novel target gene TSP-1. Both of them may contribute to the protective effect of HIF-1α on renal I/R injury.

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