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Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2013 Nov;93(6):596-605. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2013 Aug 15.

The roles of microRNAs on tuberculosis infection: meaning or myth?

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Medical Research Unit, School of Medicine, Syiah Kuala University, Banda Aceh, Indonesia; Tropical Disease Center, School of Medicine, Syiah Kuala University, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Electronic address:


The central proteins for protection against tuberculosis are attributed to interferon-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-1β, while IL-10 primarily suppresses anti-mycobacterial responses. Several studies found alteration of expression profile of genes involved in anti-mycobacterial responses in macrophages and natural killer (NK) cells from active and latent tuberculosis and from tuberculosis and healthy controls. This alteration of cellular composition might be regulated by microRNAs (miRNAs). Albeit only 1% of the genomic transcripts in mammalian cells encode miRNA, they are predicted to control the activity of more than 60% of all protein-coding genes and they have a huge influence in pathogenesis theory, diagnosis and treatment approach to some diseases. Several miRNAs have been found to regulate T cell differentiation and function and have critical role in regulating the innate function of macrophages, dendritic cells and NK cells. Here, we have reviewed the role of miRNAs implicated in tuberculosis infection, especially related to their new roles in the molecular pathology of tuberculosis immunology and as new targets for future tuberculosis diagnostics.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Tuberculosis immunology; Tuberculosis infection; microRNA

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