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MicroRNA profiling of diverse endothelial cell types

Matthew N McCall1, Oliver A Kent2, Jianshi Yu2, Karen Fox-Talbot2, Ari L Zaiman3 and Marc K Halushka2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA

2 Department of Pathology, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University SOM, Baltimore, MD, USA

3 Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University SOM, Baltimore, MD, USA

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BMC Medical Genomics 2011, 4:78  doi:10.1186/1755-8794-4-78

Published: 2 November 2011



MicroRNAs are ~22-nt long regulatory RNAs that serve as critical modulators of post-transcriptional gene regulation. The diversity of miRNAs in endothelial cells (ECs) and the relationship of this diversity to epithelial and hematologic cells is unknown. We investigated the baseline miRNA signature of human ECs cultured from the aorta (HAEC), coronary artery (HCEC), umbilical vein (HUVEC), pulmonary artery (HPAEC), pulmonary microvasculature (HPMVEC), dermal microvasculature (HDMVEC), and brain microvasculature (HBMVEC) to understand the diversity of miRNA expression in ECs.


We identified 166 expressed miRNAs, of which 3 miRNAs (miR-99b, miR-20b and let-7b) differed significantly between EC types and predicted EC clustering. We confirmed the significance of these miRNAs by RT-PCR analysis and in a second data set by Sylamer analysis. We found wide diversity of miRNAs between endothelial, epithelial and hematologic cells with 99 miRNAs shared across cell types and 31 miRNAs unique to ECs. We show polycistronic miRNA chromosomal clusters have common expression levels within a given cell type.


EC miRNA expression levels are generally consistent across EC types. Three microRNAs were variable within the dataset indicating potential regulatory changes that could impact on EC phenotypic differences. MiRNA expression in endothelial, epithelial and hematologic cells differentiate these cell types. This data establishes a valuable resource characterizing the diverse miRNA signature of ECs.

miR-99b; miR-20b; let-7b