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J Gastroenterol. 2014 Dec;49(12):1524-35. doi: 10.1007/s00535-013-0923-x. Epub 2013 Dec 20.

Regulation of anergy-related ubiquitin E3 ligase, GRAIL, in murine models of colitis and patients with Crohn's disease.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-2 K1 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka, 565-0871, Japan.



Abrogating tolerance is a critical step in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease (CD). T cell-anergy is one of the main mechanisms of tolerance and is regulated by the gene related to anergy in lymphocytes (GRAIL). This study investigated the expressions and regulation of GRAIL in CD and murine colitis models.


Expressions of GRAIL mRNA and protein in CD4+ T cells were investigated in the peripheral blood and mucosal tissues of patients with CD, mice with dextran sodium salt (DSS)-induced colitis, and Il-10-deficient mice. MicroRNAs responsible for the regulation of GRAIL were examined by miRNA microarray. GRAIL-overexpressing T cells were intravenously injected in mice with DSS-induced colitis.


The GRAIL expression was higher in the lamina propria (LP) CD4+ T cells of CD patients than of the control subjects, while it was lower in the peripheral blood CD4+ T cells of the CD patients than of the control subjects. The GRAIL mRNA expression was lower, but the GRAIL protein expression was higher in the LP of colitic mice than that of non-colitic mice. The miRNA microarray identified miR-290-5p as an miRNA that inhibits expression of the GRAIL protein and that is highly expressed in the LP of non-colitic mice. GRAIL-expressing T cells expressed regulatory T cell markers and showed suppressive effects in murine DSS-induced colitis.


Our results show that expression of GRAIL is uniquely regulated by the specific miRNA in the intestinal mucosa, and suggest that GRAIL may associate with the pathophysiology of CD.

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