MicroRNA 145 (miR-145) is a critical modulator of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) phenotyping and proliferation. Flavonoids have been studied extensively due to their diverse pharmacological properties, including anti-inflammatory effects. The aims of this study is designed to evaluate the atheroprotective effects on angiotensin II (Ang II)-induced miR-145 and Klf4/myocardin expression in vitro and in vivo of flavonoids, including (−)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), chrysin, wogonin, silibinin, and ferulic acid. Ang II significantly reduced the miR-145 compared with the control VSMC groups; all the tested flavonoids increased miR-145 in the 100 nM concentration. Among the test compounds, EGCG showed the strongest augmenting effect on miR-145 and myocardin, however, it also abolished Ang II-induced Klf4. A [ 3 H]-thymidine incorporation proliferation assay demonstrated that EGCG inhibited Ang II-induced VSMC proliferation, and Klf4 siRNA presented with the similar results. Immunohistochemical analysis and confocal microscopy demonstrated increased Klf4 expression and the arterial lumen was narrowed after balloon injury 14 days. With the addition of EGCG (50 mg/kg) and Klf4 siRNA, neointimal formation was reduced by 40.7% and 50.5% compared with balloon injury 14 days; Klf4 expression also was attenuated. This study demonstrated EGCG increased miR-145 and attenuated Klf4, and ameliorated neointimal formation in vitro and in vivo. The novel suppressive effect was mediated through the miR-145 and Klf4/myocardin pathways.
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