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Aging (Albany NY). 2009 Apr;1(4):402-11.

MicroRNAs miR-146a/b negatively modulate the senescence-associated inflammatory mediators IL-6 and IL-8.

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Buck Institute for Age Research, Novato, CA 94945, USA.


Senescence is a cellular program that irreversibly arrests the proliferation of damaged cells and induces the secretion of the inflammatory mediators IL- 6 and IL-8 which are part of a larger senescence associated secretory phenotype (SASP). We screened quiescent and senescent human fibroblasts for differentially expressed microRNAS (miRNAs) and found that miRNAs 146a and 146b (miR-146a/b) were significantly elevated during senescence. We suggest that delayed miR-146a/b induction might be a compensatory response to restrain inflammation. Indeed, ectopic expression of miR-146a/b in primary human fibroblasts suppressed IL-6 and IL-8 secretion and downregulated IRAK1, a crucial component of the IL-1 receptor signal transduction pathway. Cells undergoing senescence without induction of a robust SASP did not express miR-146a/b. Further, IL-1alpha neutralizing antibodies abolished both miR-146a/b expression and IL-6 secretion. Our findings expand the biological contexts in which miRNA-146a/b modulates inflammatory responses. They suggest that IL-1 receptor signaling initiates both miR-146a/b upregulation and cytokine secretion, and that miR-146a/b is expressed in response to rising inflammatory cytokine levels as part of a negative feedback loop that restrains excessive SASP activity.


DNA damage; IL-1α; IL-6; IL-8; inflammation; miRNA

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