MicroRNA-34a: the bad guy in age-related vascular diseases.
Raucci A., Macrì F., Castiglione S., Badi I., Vinci MC., Zuccolo E.
The age-related vasculature alteration is the prominent risk factor for vascular diseases (VD), namely, atherosclerosis, abdominal aortic aneurysm, vascular calcification (VC) and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The chronic sterile low-grade inflammation state, alias inflammaging, characterizes elderly people and participates in VD development. MicroRNA34-a (miR-34a) is emerging as an important mediator of inflammaging and VD. miR-34a increases with aging in vessels and induces senescence and the acquisition of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) in vascular smooth muscle (VSMCs) and endothelial (ECs) cells. Similarly, other VD risk factors, including dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia and hypertension, modify miR-34a expression to promote vascular senescence and inflammation. miR-34a upregulation causes endothelial dysfunction by affecting ECs nitric oxide bioavailability, adhesion molecules expression and inflammatory cells recruitment. miR-34a-induced senescence facilitates VSMCs osteoblastic switch and VC development in hyperphosphatemia conditions. Conversely, atherogenic and hypoxic stimuli downregulate miR-34a levels and promote VSMCs proliferation and migration during atherosclerosis and PAH. MiR34a genetic ablation or miR-34a inhibition by anti-miR-34a molecules in different experimental models of VD reduce vascular inflammation, senescence and apoptosis through sirtuin 1 Notch1, and B-cell lymphoma 2 modulation. Notably, pleiotropic drugs, like statins, liraglutide and metformin, affect miR-34a expression. Finally, human studies report that miR-34a levels associate to atherosclerosis and diabetes and correlate with inflammatory factors during aging. Herein, we comprehensively review the current knowledge about miR-34a-dependent molecular and cellular mechanisms activated by VD risk factors and highlight the diagnostic and therapeutic potential of modulating its expression in order to reduce inflammaging and VD burn and extend healthy lifespan.