Thrombin is a unique factor that triggers post-intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) angiogenesis by increasing hypoxia-inducible factor–1α (HIF-1α) at the protein level. However, HIF-1α mRNA remains unchanged. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) mediate posttranscriptional regulation by suppressing protein translation from mRNAs. This study aimed to determine if miRNAs might be involved in thrombin-induced angiogenesis after ICH by targeting HIF-1α or its upstream prolyl hydroxylase domains (PHDs).
The study was divided into two parts. In part 1, rats received an injection of thrombin into the right globus pallidus. An miRNA array combined with miRNA target prediction, luciferase activity assay, and miRNA mimic/inhibitor transfection were used to identify candidate miRNAs and target genes. Part 2 included experiments 1 and 2. In experiment 1, rats were randomly divided into the sham group, ICH group, and ICH+hirudin–treated (thrombin inhibitor) group. In experiment 2, the rats were randomly divided into the sham group, ICH group, ICH+antagomir group, ICH+antagomir-control group, and ICH+vehicle group. Western blotting and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction were used to determine the expression of protein and miRNA, respectively. The coexpression of miR-24–1-5p (abbreviated to miR-24) and von Willebrand factor was detected by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical analysis. The angiogenesis was evaluated by double-labeling immunofluorescence. Neurological function was evaluated by body weight, modified Neurological Severity Scores, and corner turn and foot-fault tests.
In part 1, it was shown that miR-24, which is predicted to target PHD1, was upregulated (fold-change of 1.83) after thrombin infusion, and that the miR-24 mimic transfection decreased luciferase activity and downregulated PHD1 expression (p < 0.05). miR-24 inhibitor transfection increased PHD1 expression (p < 0.05). In part 2, it was shown that miR-24 was expressed in endothelial cells. The HIF-1α protein level and proliferating cell nuclear antigen–positive (PCNA+) nuclei in vessels were increased, while the PHD1 protein level was decreased after ICH, and these effects were reversed by hirudin (p < 0.05). The antagomiR-24–treated rats exhibited a markedly lower body weight and significantly poorer recovery from neurological deficit compared with those in ICH groups (p < 0.05). AntagomiR-24 intervention also led to lower miR-24 expression, a higher PHD1 protein level, and fewer PCNA+ nuclei in vessels compared with those in ICH groups (p < 0.05).
The present study suggests that thrombin reduces HIF-1α degradation and initiates angiogenesis by increasing miR-24, which targets PHD1 after ICH.