Deregulation of microRNA expression in purified T and B lymphocytes from patients with primary Sjögren’s syndrome

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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play an important role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases such as primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS). This study is the first to investigate miRNA expression patterns in purified T and B lymphocytes from patients with pSS using a high-throughput quantitative PCR (qPCR) approach.


Two independent cohorts of both patients with pSS and controls, one for discovery and one for replication, were included in this study. CD4+ T cells and CD19+ B cells were isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells by magnetic microbeads and expression of miRNAs was profiled using the Exiqon Human miRNome panel I analysing 372 miRNAs. A selection of differentially expressed miRNAs was replicated in the second cohort using specific qPCR assays.


A major difference in miRNA expression patterns was observed between the lymphocyte populations from patients with pSS and controls. In CD4 T lymphocytes, hsa-let-7d-3p, hsa-miR-155–5 p, hsa-miR-222–3 p, hsa-miR-30c-5p, hsa-miR-146a-5p, hsa-miR-378a-3p and hsa-miR-28–5 p were significantly differentially expressed in both the discovery and the replication cohort. In B lymphocytes, hsa-miR-378a-3p, hsa-miR-222–3 p, hsa-miR-26a-5p, hsa-miR-30b-5p and hsa-miR-19b-3p were significantly differentially expressed. Potential target mRNAs were enriched in disease relevant pathways. Expression of B-cell activating factor (BAFF) mRNA was inversely correlated with the expression of hsa-miR-30b-5p in B lymphocytes from patients with pSS and functional experiments showed increased expression of BAFF after inhibiting hsa-miR-30b-5p.


This study demonstrates major miRNAs deregulation in T and B cells from patients with pSS in two independent cohorts, which might target genes known to be involved in the pathogenesis of pSS.

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