Administration of A. muciniphila ameliorates pulmonary arterial hypertension by targeting miR-208a-3p/NOVA1 axis
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PH) is a chronic disease induced by a progressive increase in pulmonary vascular resistance and failure of the right heart function. A number of studies show that the development of PH is closely related to the gut microbiota, and lung-gut axis might be a potential therapeutic target in the PH treatment. A. muciniphila has been reported to play a critical role in treating cardiovascular disorders. In this study we evaluated the therapeutic effects of A. muciniphila against hypoxia-induced PH and the underlying mechanisms. Mice were pretreated with A. muciniphila suspension (2 × 108 CFU in 200 μL sterile anaerobic PBS, i.g.) every day for 3 weeks, and then exposed to hypoxia (9% O2) for another 4 weeks to induce PH. We showed that A. muciniphila pretreatment significantly facilitated the restoration of the hemodynamics and structure of the cardiopulmonary system, reversed the pathological progression of hypoxia-induced PH. Moreover, A. muciniphila pretreatment significantly modulated the gut microbiota in hypoxia-induced PH mice. miRNA sequencing analysis reveals that miR-208a-3p, a commensal gut bacteria-regulated miRNA, was markedly downregulated in lung tissues exposed to hypoxia, which was restored by A. muciniphila pretreatment. We showed that transfection with miR-208a-3p mimic reversed hypoxia-induced abnormal proliferation of human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (hPASMCs) via regulating the cell cycle, whereas knockdown of miR-208a-3p abolished the beneficial effects of A. muciniphila pretreatment in hypoxia-induced PH mice. We demonstrated that miR-208a-3p bound to the 3′-untranslated region of NOVA1 mRNA; the expression of NOVA1 was upregulated in lung tissues exposed to hypoxia, which was reversed by A. muciniphila pretreatment. Furthermore, silencing of NOVA1 reversed hypoxia-induced abnormal proliferation of hPASMCs through cell cycle modulation. Our results demonstrate that A. muciniphila could modulate PH through the miR-208a-3p/NOVA1 axis, providing a new theoretical basis for PH treatment.