Functional Screening Identifies MicroRNAs as Multi-Cellular Regulators of Heart Failure

Sci Rep. 2019 Apr 15;9(1):6055. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-41491-9.


Heart failure (HF) is the leading cause of death in the Western world. Pathophysiological processes underlying HF development, including cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis and inflammation, are controlled by specific microRNAs (miRNAs). Whereas most studies investigate miRNA function in one particular cardiac cell type, their multicellular function is poorly investigated. The present study probed 194 miRNAs -differentially expressed in cardiac inflammatory disease - for regulating cardiomyocyte size, cardiac fibroblasts collagen content, and macrophage polarization. Of the tested miRNAs, 13%, 26%, and 41% modulated cardiomyocyte size, fibroblast collagen production, and macrophage polarization, respectively. Seventeen miRNAs affected all three cellular processes, including miRNAs with established (miR-210) and unknown roles in cardiac pathophysiology (miR-145-3p). These miRNAs with a multi-cellular function commonly target various genes. In-depth analysis in vitro of previously unstudied miRNAs revealed that the observed phenotypical alterations concurred with changes in transcript and protein levels of hypertrophy-, fibrosis- and inflammation-related genes. MiR-145-3p and miR-891a-3p were identified to regulate the fibrotic response, whereas miR-223-3p, miR-486-3p, and miR-488-5p modulated macrophage activation and polarisation. In conclusion, miRNAs are multi-cellular regulators of different cellular processes underlying cardiac disease. We identified previously undescribed roles of miRNAs in hypertrophy, fibrosis, and inflammation, and attribute new cellular effects to various well-known miRNAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cardiomegaly / genetics
  • Cardiomegaly / immunology
  • Cardiomegaly / pathology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibroblasts
  • Fibrosis
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Heart Failure / genetics*
  • Heart Failure / immunology
  • Heart Failure / pathology
  • Humans
  • Macrophage Activation / genetics
  • Macrophage Activation / immunology
  • Macrophages
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Myocarditis / genetics
  • Myocarditis / immunology*
  • Myocarditis / pathology
  • Myocardium / cytology
  • Myocardium / immunology
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Rats


  • MicroRNAs