Atherosclerosis progress is regulated by a variety of factors. Here, we show that miR-320a, an intergenic miRNA, is markedly elevated in the peripheral blood of coronary heart disease patients and high-risk patients. Microarray analysis and qRT-PCR assays showed that circulating miRNA-320a was highly expressed in coronary artery disease patients. In vivo study showed that overexpression of miR-320a resulted in significant increase in levels of plasma lipid (total cholesterol, Triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein) and serum inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, MCP-1, sICAM, pSelectin, TNF-α and fibrinogen). In ApoE(-/-) mice, miR-320a expression attenuates endothelium cell function and promotes atherogenesis. Bioinformatics analysis identified serum response factor as a potential target for miR-320a, which was validated by luciferase reporter activity assay and western-blot in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, miR-320a expression inhibits human-derived endothelium cell proliferation and induces apoptosis. We also found that SP1 transcriptionally up-regulates hsa-miR-320a expression. Our observations indicate that miR-320a is a key regulator contributing to multiple aspects of atherogenesis.
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