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Free Radic Biol Med. 2012 Apr 15;52(8):1307-17. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2012.01.031. Epub 2012 Feb 8.

Glucocorticoids inhibit lipopolysaccharide-mediated inflammatory response by downregulating microRNA-155: a novel anti-inflammation mechanism.

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Department of Immunology and Key Laboratory of Molecular Medicine of the Ministry of Education, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, People's Republic of China.


Glucocorticoids (GCs) are among the most widely used and effective therapies for many chronic inflammatory diseases. Although attempts have been made to identify important protein-coding genes and pathways involved in the anti-inflammatory effect of GCs, knowledge of genomic aberrations associated with noncoding genes, such as micro-RNAs (miRNAs), and their contributions is relatively limited. In this study, a systematic screening of the miRNA expression profile by microarray showed that GCs inhibited the expression of miR-155 in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced macrophage inflammatory responses. Overexpression of miR-155 markedly reversed the suppressive action of GCs, whereas inhibition of miR-155 exhibited an effect similar to that of GCs on LPS-treated RAW264.7 cells, indicating miR-155 to be a functional regulator in the anti-inflammatory effect of GCs. Furthermore, GCs inhibited miR-155 expression in a GC receptor- and NF-κB-dependent manner. Bioinformatics analysis and luciferase assay revealed that the NF-κB binding site located in the promoter region of the B-cell integration cluster was important in mediating the GC-driven suppression of miR-155 in response to LPS stimulation. In addition, the combination of treatment with GCs and inhibition of miR-155 enhanced the anti-inflammatory effect of GCs on LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 cells. Therefore, we identify miR-155 to be a novel target through which GCs exert their anti-inflammatory effect on the LPS-induced macrophage inflammatory response. These findings may provide a basic rationale for new approaches in the effort to develop anti-inflammatory therapeutics.

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