Int J Biol Sci 2017; 13(7):868-877. doi:10.7150/ijbs.19868 This issue

Research Paper

Exposure to Concentrated Ambient Fine Particulate Matter Induces Vascular Endothelial Dysfunction via miR-21

Jianwei Dai1, 2*✉, Wensheng Chen1*, Yuyin Lin1, Shiwen Wang1, Xiaolan Guo1, Qian-Qian Zhang3✉

1. GMU-GIBH Joint School of Life Sciences, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510182, China;
2. The State Key Lab of Respiratory Disease, Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Disease, The First Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510120, China;
3. Vascular Biology Research Institute, School of Basic Course, Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Guangzhou 510006, China.
* These authors contribute equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Dai J, Chen W, Lin Y, Wang S, Guo X, Zhang QQ. Exposure to Concentrated Ambient Fine Particulate Matter Induces Vascular Endothelial Dysfunction via miR-21. Int J Biol Sci 2017; 13(7):868-877. doi:10.7150/ijbs.19868. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Vascular endothelial permeability transition does not cause significant lesions, but enhanced permeability may contribute to the development of vascular and other diseases, including atherosclerosis, hypertension, heart failure and cancer. Therefore, elucidating the effect of Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5) on vascular endothelial permeability could help prevent disease that might be caused by PM2.5. Our previous study and the present one revealed that PM2.5 significantly increased the permeability of vascular endothelial cells and disrupted the barrier function of the vascular endothelium in Sprague Dawley (SD) rats. We found that the effect occurred mainly through induction of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) phosphorylation, further transcriptional regulation of microRNA21 (miR-21) and promotion of miR-21 expression. These changes post-transcriptionally repress tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 3 (TIMP3) and promote matrix metalloproteinases 9 (MMP9) expression. This work provides evidence that PM2.5 exerts direct inhibitory action on vascular endothelial barrier function and might give rise to a number of vascular diseases.

Keywords: Fine particulate matter, vascular endothelial cell, permeability, miR-21.