MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNA molecules that regulate the posttranscriptional expression of target genes and are important regulators in immune responses. Previous studies demonstrated that the miRNA, miR-182 was significantly increased during allograft rejection. Further, the transcription factor Forkhead box (FOX) protein 1, (FOXO1) was shown to be a target of miR-182. The aim of this study is to further examine the role of miR-182 in alloimmune responses.Methods
Transplantation of BALB/c cardiac allografts was performed in C57BL/6, miR-182−/−, B6.129S-H2dlAb1-Ea (MHC II− and CD4+ T cell-deficient) and B6.129S2-Tap1tm1Arp (MHC I− and CD8+ T cell-deficient) mice, with or without CTLA-4Ig administration. T cell phenotype, FOXO1 protein levels and graft infiltrating lymphocytes were determined in C57BL/6 or miR-182−/− mice by flow cytometric analysis, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry, respectively.Results
We now show that T cells, mainly CD4+ are the main cellular source of miR-182 during allograft rejection. In the absence of miR-182, CTLA-4Ig treatment significantly increased allograft survival (31.5 days C57BL/6 vs 60 days miR-182−/−; P < 0.01). Further, CTLA4-Ig treatment inhibits miR-182 expression, increases FOXO1 levels, and reduces the percentage of CD4+CD44hi T cells after transplantation. Fewer T cells infiltrate the cardiac allografts, and memory T cells are significantly decreased in allograft recipients deficient in miR-182 with CTLA4-Ig treatment (P < 0.01).Conclusions
Our findings suggest that miR-182 contributes to the T-cell responses to alloantigen especially under costimulation blockade. Therapeutics that target specific miRNAs may prove beneficial in transplantation.