Science and Mathematics Faculty Publications

miR-146a is critical for endotoxin-induced tolerance: implication in innate immunity

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Journal of Biological Chemistry





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The human toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) pathway is activated in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and subsequent signal transductions lead to the production of cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) by innate immune cells. Defects in innate immune response may contribute to the overproduction of TNF-α leading to systemic inflammation and diseases. Thus, the innate immune response needs to be tightly regulated by elaborate mechanisms to control its onset and termination. LPS tolerance is a state of hyporesponsiveness to subsequent LPS challenge and is achieved by monocytic cells after prolonged exposure to LPS. In this report, kinetics of endotoxin-responsive microRNAs expression analysis revealed a unique pattern of gradual increase for miR-146a starting 4 h after LPS stimulation in THP-1 cells and continued up to 35-fold over 24 h. Conversely, TNF-α increased up to 4 h and then decreased gradually implicating a negative correlation with miR-146a progression. The characteristic up-regulation of miR-146a toward subsequent LPS challenge in THP-1 cells was studied. Strikingly, microRNA expression analysis during the tolerized state of THP-1 cells showed only miR-146a overexpression suggesting its important role in LPS tolerance. In addition, LPS tolerance was dependent on a LPS-priming dose and associated miR-146a up-regulation. LPS-tolerized cells were observed to regain responsiveness in TNF-α production 22 h after LPS removal correlating with a decrease in miR-146a level. Transfection of miR-146a into THP-1 cells mimicked LPS priming, whereas transfection of miR-146a inhibitor largely abolished LPS tolerance. Thus our studies demonstrated that miR-146a is critical for the in vitro monocytic cell-based endotoxin tolerance.