Neutrophil transfer of miR-223 to lung epithelial cells dampens acute lung injury in mice

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Abstract

Intercellular transfer of microRNAs can mediate communication between critical effector cells. We hypothesized that transfer of neutrophil-derived microRNAs to pulmonary epithelial cells could alter mucosal gene expression during acute lung injury. Pulmonary-epithelial microRNA profiling during coculture of alveolar epithelial cells with polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) revealed a selective increase in lung epithelial cell expression of microRNA-223 (miR-223). Analysis of PMN-derived supernatants showed activation-dependent release of miR-223 and subsequent transfer to alveolar epithelial cells during coculture in vitro or after ventilator-induced acute lung injury in mice. Genetic studies indicated that miR-223 deficiency was associated with severe lung inflammation, whereas pulmonary overexpression of miR-223 in mice resulted in protection during acute lung injury induced by mechanical ventilation or by infection with Staphylococcus aureus. Studies of putative miR-223 gene targets implicated repression of poly(adenosine diphosphate–ribose) polymerase–1 (PARP-1) in the miR-223–dependent attenuation of lung inflammation. Together, these findings suggest that intercellular transfer of miR-223 from neutrophils to pulmonary epithelial cells may dampen acute lung injury through repression of PARP-1.

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