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J Immunol. 2013 Jan 15;190(2):678-88. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1202695. Epub 2012 Dec 10.

MicroRNA-31 is overexpressed in psoriasis and modulates inflammatory cytokine and chemokine production in keratinocytes via targeting serine/threonine kinase 40.

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Molecular Dermatology Research Group, Unit of Dermatology and Venereology, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institute, SE-17176 Stockholm, Sweden.


Psoriasis is characterized by a specific microRNA expression profile, distinct from that of healthy skin. MiR-31 is one of the most highly overexpressed microRNAs in psoriasis skin; however, its biological role in the disease has not been studied. In this study, we show that miR-31 is markedly overexpressed in psoriasis keratinocytes. Specific inhibition of miR-31 suppressed NF-κB-driven promoter luciferase activity and the basal and TNF-α-induced production of IL-1β, CXCL1/growth-related oncogene-α, CXCL5/epithelial-derived neutrophil-activating peptide 78, and CXCL8/IL-8 in human primary keratinocytes. Moreover, interference with endogenous miR-31 decreased the ability of keratinocytes to activate endothelial cells and attract leukocytes. By microarray expression profiling, we identified genes regulated by miR-31 in keratinocytes. Among these genes, we identified serine/threonine kinase 40 (STK40), a negative regulator of NF-κB signaling, as a direct target for miR-31. Silencing of STK40 rescued the suppressive effect of miR-31 inhibition on cytokine/chemokine expression, indicating that miR-31 regulates cytokine/chemokine expression via targeting STK40 in keratinocytes. Finally, we demonstrated that TGF-β1, a cytokine highly expressed in psoriasis epidermis, upregulated miR-31 expression in keratinocytes in vitro and in vivo. Collectively, our findings suggest that overexpression of miR-31 contributes to skin inflammation in psoriasis lesions by regulating the production of inflammatory mediators and leukocyte chemotaxis to the skin. Our data indicate that inhibition of miR-31 may be a potential therapeutic option in psoriasis.

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