A miRNA cassette reprograms smooth muscle cells into endothelial cells

Author: McCoy M G, Pérez-Cremades D, Belkin N, Peng W, Zhang B, Chen J, Sachan M, Wara A K M K, Zhuang R, Cheng H S, Feinberg M W.

Fase B Journal, 2022


In this study, the authors investigated the transdifferentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) into endothelial cells (ECs) through cellular reprogramming with microRNAs, as a novel approach to cure endothelial dysfunction. The CytoSMART Omni was used to image endothelial tube formation on Matrigel every 4 hours for 16 hours in the induced endothelial cells (iECs), Human Coronary Artery Smooth Muscle Cells (CASMCs), and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). The tube formation assay confirmed endothelial-like behaviour of iECs, tube formation similar to the network kinetics of HUVECs, and matrix networks when compared to CASMCs. All in all, it was demonstrated that a 4-miRNA cassette is sufficient for the reprogramming of SMCs into ECs. This finding shows promise as a novel regenerative therapy to cure vascular diseases by endothelial repair.