Circulating Microvesicles Regulate Treg and Th17 Differentiation in Human Autoimmune Thyroid Disorders

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Microvesicles (MVs) are emerging as important contributors to the development of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. MVs can mediate immune modulation carrying genetic information, including microRNAs that can be transferred between cells.


We determined the plasma levels of annexin-V+ MVs derived from different immune cells and platelets in patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITDs) and in healthy controls. T lymphocyte polarization assays were performed in the presence of MVs to evaluate their effect in T regulatory and T helper 17 cells differentiation. microRNA content into plasma MVs and their corresponding mRNA targets were evaluated by RT-PCR.


The percentage of platelet-derived MVs (CD41a+) was significantly increased in plasma samples from AITD patients compared with healthy controls. In contrast, patients with AITD showed a lower percentage of leukocyte and endothelial cell-derived MVs compared with controls. In addition, functional assays showed that MVs from AITD patients inhibited the in vitro differentiation of Foxp3+ T regulatory cells (11.35% vs 4.40%, P = .01) and induced the expression of interferon-γ by CD4+ lymphocytes (10.91% vs 13.99%, P = .01) as well as the differentiation of T helper 17 pathogenic (IL-17+interferon-γ+) cells (1.98% vs 5.13%, P = .03). Furthermore, in AITD patients, whereas miR-146a and miR-155 were increased in circulating MVs, their targets IL-8 and SMAD4 were decreased in peripheral blood mononuclear cells.


Our data indicate that circulating MVs seem to have a relevant role in the modulation of the inflammatory response observed in AITD.

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