Thrombospondin-1 (THBS1) affects corpus luteum (CL) regression. Highly induced during luteolysis, it acts as a natural anti-angiogenic, proapoptotic compound. THBS1 expression is regulated in bovine luteal endothelial cells (LECs) by fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2) and transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGFB1) acting in an opposite manner. Here we sought to identify specific microRNAs (miRNAs) targeting THBS1 and investigate their possible involvement in FGF2 and TGFB1-mediated THBS1 expression. Several miRNAs predicted to target THBS1 mRNA (miR-1, miR-18a, miR-144, miR-194, and miR-221) were experimentally tested. Of these, miR-221 was shown to efficiently target THBS1 expression and function in LECs. We found that this miRNA is highly expressed in luteal cells and in mid-cycle CL. Consistent with the inhibition of THBS1 function, miR-221 also reduced Serpin Family E Member 1 [SERPINE1] in LECs and promoted angiogenic characteristics of LECs. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), the gene product of SERPINE1, inhibited cell adhesion, suggesting that PAI-1, like THBS1, has anti-angiogenic properties. Importantly, FGF2, which negatively regulates THBS1, elevates miR-221. Conversely, TGFB1 that stimulates THBS1, significantly reduces miR-221. Furthermore, FGF2 enhances the suppression of THBS1 caused by miR-221 mimic, and prevents the increase in THBS1 induced by miR-221 inhibitor. In contrast, TGFB1 reverses the inhibitory effect of miR-221 mimic on THBS1, and enhances the upregulation of THBS1 induced by miR-221 inhibitor. These data support the contention that FGF2 and TGFB1 modulate THBS1 via miR-221. These in vitro data propose that dynamic regulation of miR-221 throughout the cycle, affecting THBS1 and SERPINE1, can modulate vascular function in the CL.
Dynamic regulation ofmiR-221 throughout the cycle, affecting THBS1 and subsequently SERPINE1, can modulate vascular function in the corpus luteum.