Targeting miR-27a/VE-cadherin interactions rescues cerebral cavernous malformations in mice

Jia Li, Yang Zhao, Jaesung Choi, Ka Ka Ting, Paul Coleman, Jinbiao Chen, Victoria C. Cogger, Li Wan, Zhongsong Shi, Thorleif Moller, Xiangjian Zheng, Mathew A. Vadas, Jennifer R. Gamble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are vascular lesions predominantly developing in the central nervous system (CNS), with no effective treatments other than surgery. Loss-of-function mutation in CCM1/krev interaction trapped 1 (KRIT1), CCM2, or CCM3/programmed cell death 10 (PDCD10) causes lesions that are characterized by abnormal vascular integrity. Vascular endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin), a major regulator of endothelial cell (EC) junctional integrity is strongly disorganized in ECs lining the CCM lesions. We report here that microRNA-27a (miR-27a), a negative regulator of VE-cadherin, is elevated in ECs isolated from mouse brains developing early CCM lesions and in cultured ECs with CCM1 or CCM2 depletion. Furthermore, we show miR-27a acts downstream of kruppel-like factor (KLF)2 and KLF4, two known key transcription factors involved in CCM lesion development. Using CD5-2 (a target site blocker [TSB]) to prevent the miR-27a/VE-cadherin mRNA interaction, we present a potential therapy to increase VE-cadherin expression and thus rescue the abnormal vascular integrity. In CCM1- or CCM2-depleted ECs, CD5-2 reduces monolayer permeability, and in Ccm1 heterozygous mice, it restores dermal vessel barrier function. In a neonatal mouse model of CCM disease, CD5-2 normalizes vasculature and reduces vascular leakage in the lesions, inhibits the development of large lesions, and significantly reduces the size of established lesions in the hindbrain. Furthermore, CD5-2 limits the accumulation of inflammatory cells in the lesion area. Our work has established that VE-cadherin is a potential therapeutic target for normalization of the vasculature and highlights that targeting miR-27a/VE-cadherin interaction by CD5-2 is a potential novel therapy for the devastating disease, CCM.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3000734
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalPLoS Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2020

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