Absence of miR-182 Augments Cardiac Allograft Survival

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Abstract

Background

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.

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