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01-12-2017 | Rheumatoid arthritis | Article

The role of aberrant expression of T cell miRNAs affected by TNF-α in the immunopathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Research & Therapy

Authors: Ning-Sheng Lai, Hui-Chun Yu, Chien-Hsueh Tung, Kuang-Yung Huang, Hsien-Bin Huang, Ming-Chi Lu

Publisher: BioMed Central


Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) can cause diverse T cell dysfunctions in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is involved in the regulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) expression in different cell types. We hypothesized that the expression of T cell miRNAs would be affected by TNF-α, and these miRNAs could participate in the immunopathogenesis of RA.
Expression profiles of 270 human miRNAs in Jurkat cells, cultured in the presence or absence of TNF-α for 7 days were analyzed by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Potentially aberrantly expressed miRNAs were validated using T cell samples from 35 patients with RA and 15 controls. Transfection studies were conducted to search for gene expression and biological functions regulated by specific miRNAs.
Initial analysis revealed 12 miRNAs were significantly lower, whereas the expression level of miR-146a was significantly higher in Jurkat cells after being cultured with TNF-α for 7 days. Decreased expression of miR-139-3p, miR-204, miR-760, miR-524-5p, miR-136, miR-548d-3p, miR-214, miR-383, and miR-887 were noted in RA T cells. Expression levels of miR-139-3p, miR-204, miR-214, and miR-760 were correlated with the use of biologic agents. The transfection of miR-214 mimic suppressed TNF-α-mediated apoptosis of Jurkat cells. Increased phosphorylation of extracellular regulating kinase (ERK) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) was noted in RA T cells and Jurkat cells after TNF-α exposure. Transfection of Jurkat cells with miR-214 mimic suppressed both the basal and TNF-α-mediated ERK and JNK phosphoryation.
Among T cell miRNAs affected by TNF-α, the expression levels of nine miRNAs were decreased in T cells from patients with RA. The expression levels of miR-139-3p, miR-204, miR-214, and miR-760 increased in RA patients receiving biologic agents. The transfection of miR-214 reversed the TNF-α-mediated cells apoptosis and inhibited the phosphorylation of ERK and JNK in Jurkat cells.

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