1. Lawrence D. Longo, MD Center for Perinatal Biology, Department of Basic Sciences, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, California, USA.
2. Department of Cardiac Surgery, Guangdong Cardiovascular Institute, Guangdong Provincial People's Hospital, Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences, Guangzhou, China.
3. Department of Neurobiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Background: E-cigarette and other novel electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) have recently entered the market at a rapid pace. The community desperately needs answers about the health effects of ENDS. The present study tested the hypothesis that perinatal nicotine exposure (PNE) causes a gender-dependent increase in vulnerability of the heart to ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury and cardiac dysfunction in male rat offspring via reprogramming of the miRNA-181a (miR-181a)-mediated signaling pathway and that miR-181a antisense could rescue this phenotype.
Methods: Nicotine or saline was administered to pregnant rats via subcutaneous osmotic minipumps from gestational day 4 until postnatal day 10. Cardiac function and molecular biological experiments were conducted in ~3- month-old offspring.
Results: PNE enhanced I/R-induced cardiac dysfunction and infarction in adult male but not in female offspring, which was associated with miR-181a over-expression in left ventricle tissues. In addition, PNE enhanced offspring cardiac angiotensin receptor (ATR) expressions via specific CpG hypomethylation of AT1R/AT2R promoter. Furthermore, PNE attenuated cardiac lncRNA H19 levels, but up-regulated cardiac TGF-β/Smads family proteins and consequently up-regulated autophagy-related protein (Atg-5, beclin-1, LC3 II, p62) expression in the male offspring. Of importance, treatment with miR-181a antisense eliminated the PNE's effect on miR-181a expression/H19 levels and reversed PNE-mediated I/R-induced cardiac infarction and dysfunction in male offspring. Furthermore, miR-181a antisense also attenuated the effect of PNE on AT1R/AT2R/TGF-β/Smads/autophagy-related biomarkers in the male offspring.
Conclusion: Our data suggest that PNE could induce a reprogramming of cardiac miR-181a expression/DNA methylation pattern, which epigenetically modulates ATR/TGF-β/autophagy signaling pathways, leading to gender-dependent development of ischemia-sensitive phenotype in postnatal life. Furthermore, miR-181a could severe as a potential therapeutic target for rescuing this phenotype.
Keywords: Perinatal nicotine, cardiac ischemia/reperfusion injury, miR-181a, DNA methylation