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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e43184. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043184. Epub 2012 Aug 10.

Altered microRNA signatures in sputum of patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Key Laboratory of Clinical Laboratory Diagnostics in Universities of Shandong, Clinical Faculty (Affiliated Hospital) Weifang Medical University, Weifang, China.


Role of microRNA (miRNA) has been highlighted in pathogen-host interactions recently. At present, their role in active pulmonary tuberculosis is unknown. The aim of the study was to delineate miRNA expression in sputum supernatant of patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis. Expression of miRNAs was evaluated by microarray analysis and differentially expressed miRNAs were validated by RT-qPCR. Secreted cytokines TNF-α and IL-6 were measured by ELISA. We found that 95 miRNAs were differentially expressed between tuberculosis group and controls. More miRNAs (52 out of 95 miRNAs) were underexpressed than overexpressed during tuberculosis infection. Overexpression of miR-3179, miR-147 and underexpression of miR-19b-2* in TB group compared with controls were confirmed in the validation cohort. TNF-α and IL-6 levels were not significantly altered between TB group and controls. For the first time, differential expression of miRNAs in sputum was found in active pulmonary tuberculosis. The study provides rationale for identifying the role of miRNAs in the pathogenesis of pulmonary tuberculosis and indicates potential for miRNA-based therapeutic strategies.

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