AntimiR-21 Prevents Myocardial Dysfunction in a Pig Model of Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury

Rabea Hinkel, Deepak Ramanujam, Veronika Kaczmarek, Andrea Howe, Katharina Klett, Christina Beck, Anne Dueck, Thomas Thum, Karl-Ludwig Laugwitz, Lars Maegdefessel, Christian Weber, Christian Kupatt*, Stefan Engelhardt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND miR-21 is a central regulator of cardiac fibrosis, and its inhibition in small-animal models has been shown to be an effective antifibrotic strategy in various organs, including the heart. Effective delivery of therapeutic antisense micro-ribonucleic acid (antimiR) molecules to the myocardium in larger organisms is challenging, though, and remains to be established for models of chronic heart failure.

OBJECTIVES The aims of this study were to test the applicability and therapeutic efficacy of local, catheter-based delivery of antimiR-21 in a pig model of heart failure and determine its effect on the cardiac transcriptomic signature and cellular composition.

METHODS Pigs underwent transient percutaneous occlusion of the left coronary artery and were followed up for 33 days. AntimiR-21 (10 mg) was applied by intracoronary infusion at days 5 and 19 after the injury. Cardiac function was assessed in vivo, followed by histological analyses and deep ribonucleic acid sequencing (RNA-seq) of the myocardium and genetic deconvolution analysis.

RESULTS AntimiR-21 effectively suppressed the remodeling-associated increase of miR-21. At 33 days after ischemia/reperfusion injury, LNA-21-treated hearts exhibited reduced cardiac fibrosis and hypertrophy and improved cardiac function. Deep RNA-seq revealed a significant derepression of the miR-21 targetome in antimiR-21-treated myocardium and a suppression of the inflammatory response and mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. A genetic deconvolution approach built on deep RNA-seq and single-cell RNA-seq data identified reductions in macrophage and fibroblast numbers as the key cell types affected by antimiR-21 treatment.

CONCLUSIONS This study provides the first evidence for the feasibility and therapeutic efficacy of miR-21 inhibition in a large animal model of heart failure. (C) 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier on behalf of the American College of Cardiology Foundation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1788-1800
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2020


  • cardiac disease
  • fibrosis
  • microRNA
  • miR-21
  • porcine model of heart failure

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