Myocardial and circulating levels of microRNA-21 reflect left ventricular fibrosis in aortic stenosis patients
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AuthorVillar Ramos, Ana Victoria; García López, Raquel; Merino Fernández, David; Llano Cardenal, Miguel; Cobo Belaustegui, Manuel; Montalvo Silva, Cecilia de; Martín Durán, Rafael; Hurlé González, María Amor; Nistal Herrera, Juan Francisco
Background: Various human cardiovascular pathophysiological conditions associate aberrant expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) and circulating miRNAs are emerging as promising biomarkers. In mice, myocardial miR-21 overexpression is related to cardiac fibrosis elicited by pressure overload. This study was designed to determine the role of myocardial and plasmatic miR-21 in the maladaptive remodeling of the extracellular matrix induced by pressure overload in aortic stenosis (AS) patients and the clinical value of miR-21 as a biomarker for pathological myocardial fibrosis. Methods: In left ventricular biopsies from 75 AS patients and 32 surgical controls, we quantified the myocardial transcript levels of miR-21, miR-21-targets and ECM- and TGF-β-signaling-related elements. miR-21 plasma levels were determined in 25 healthy volunteers and in AS patients. In situ hybridization of miR-21 wasperformed in myocardial sections. Results: The myocardial and plasma levels of miR-21 were significantly higher in the AS patients compared with controls and correlated directly with the echocardiographic mean transvalvular gradients. miR-21 overexpression was confined to interstitial cells and absent in cardiomyocytes. Using bootstrap validated multiple linear regression, the variance in myocardial collagen expression was predicted by myocardial miR-21 (70% of collagen variance) or plasma miR-21 (52% of collagen variance), together with the miR-21 targets RECK and PDCD4, and effectors of TGF-β signaling. Conclusions: Our results support the role of miR-21 as a regulator of the fibrotic process that occurs in response to pressure overload in AS patients and underscore the value of circulating miR-21 as a biomarker for myocardial fibrosis.