Deregulation of microRNA expression in monocytes and CD4+ T lymphocytes from patients with axial spondyloarthritis

Background: MicroRNAs (MiRs) play an important role in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory diseases. This study is the first to investigate miR expression profiles in purified CD4+ T lymphocytes and CD14+ monocytes from patients with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) using a high-throughput qPCR approach. Methods: A total of 81 axSpA patients fulfilling the 2009 ASAS classification criteria, and 55 controls were recruited from October 2014 to July 2017. CD14+ monocytes and CD4+ T lymphocytes were isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells. MiR expression was investigated by qPCR using the Exiqon Human MiRnome panel I analyzing 372 miRNAs. Differentially expressed miRNAs identified in the discovery cohort were validated in the replication cohort. Results: We found a major difference in miR expression patterns between T lymphocytes and monocytes regardless of the patient or control status. Comparing disease-specific differentially expressed miRs, 13 miRs were found consistently deregulated in CD14+ cells in both cohorts with miR-361-3p, miR-223-3p, miR-484, and miR-16-5p being the most differentially expressed. In CD4+ T cells, 11 miRs were differentially expressed between patients and controls with miR-16-1-3p, miR-28-5p, miR-199a-5p, and miR-126-3p were the most strongly upregulated miRs among patients. These miRs are involved in disease relevant pathways such as inflammation, intestinal permeability or bone formation. Mir-146a-5p levels correlated inversely with the degree of inflammation in axSpA patients. Conclusions: We demonstrate a consistent deregulation of miRs in both monocytes and CD4+ T cells from axSpA patients, which could contribute to the pathophysiology of the disease with potential interest from a therapeutic perspective.

Arthritis Research & Therapy