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Mol Immunol. 2015 Jul;66(1):57-67. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2014.10.014. Epub 2014 Nov 20.

Model systems to analyze the role of miRNAs and commensal microflora in bovine mucosal immune system development.

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Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2P5, Canada.
Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon S7N 5E3, Canada; School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon S7N 5E3, Canada. Electronic address:


Information is rapidly accumulating regarding the role of miRNAs as key regulators of immune system development and function. It is also increasingly evident that miRNAs play an important role in host-pathogen interactions through regulation of both innate and acquired immune responses. Little is known, however, about the specific role of miRNAs in regulating normal development of the mucosal immune system, especially during the neonatal period. Furthermore, there is limited knowledge regarding the possible role the commensal microbiome may play in regulating mucosal miRNAs expression, although evidence is emerging that a variety of enteric pathogens influence miRNA expression. The current review focuses on recent information that miRNAs play an important role in regulating early development of the bovine mucosal immune system. A possible role for the commensal microbiome in regulating mucosal development by altering miRNA expression is also discussed. Finally, we explore the potential advantages of using the newborn calf as a model to determine how interactions between developmental programming, maternal factors in colostrum, and colonization of the gastrointestinal tract by commensal bacteria may alter mucosal miRNA expression and immune development. Identifying the key factors that regulate mucosal miRNA expression is critical for understanding how the balance between protective immunity and inflammation is maintained to ensure optimal gastrointestinal tract function and health of the whole organism.


Bovine; Commensal bacteria; Gastro-intestinal tract; Mucosal immunity; miRNA

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