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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jan 14;286(2):1436-44. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.145870. Epub 2010 Nov 9.

Up-regulation of microRNA-155 in macrophages contributes to increased tumor necrosis factor {alpha} (TNF{alpha}) production via increased mRNA half-life in alcoholic liver disease.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605, USA.


Activation of Kupffer cells (KCs) by gut-derived lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and Toll-Like Receptors 4 (TLR4)-LPS-mediated increase in TNFα production has a central role in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease. Micro-RNA (miR)-125b, miR-146a, and miR-155 can regulate inflammatory responses to LPS. Here we evaluated the involvement of miRs in alcohol-induced macrophage activation. Chronic alcohol treatment in vitro resulted in a time-dependent increase in miR-155 but not miR-125b or miR-146a levels in RAW 264.7 macrophages. Furthermore, alcohol pretreatment augmented LPS-induced miR-155 expression in macrophages. We found a linear correlation between alcohol-induced increase in miR-155 and TNFα induction. In a mouse model of alcoholic liver disease, we found a significant increase in both miR-155 levels and TNFα production in isolated KCs when compared with pair-fed controls. The mechanistic role of miR-155 in TNFα regulation was indicated by decreased TNFα levels in alcohol-treated macrophages after inhibition of miR-155 and by increased TNFα production after miR-155 overexpression, respectively. We found that miR-155 affected TNFα mRNA stability because miR-155 inhibition decreased whereas miR-155 overexpression increased TNFα mRNA half-life. Using the NF-κB inhibitors, MG-132 or Bay11-7082, we demonstrated that NF-κB activation mediated the up-regulation of miR-155 by alcohol in KCs. In conclusion, our novel data demonstrate that chronic alcohol consumption increases miR-155 in macrophages via NF-κB and the increased miR-155 contributes to alcohol-induced elevation in TNFα production via increased mRNA stability.

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