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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42971. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042971. Epub 2012 Aug 24.

Inducible microRNA-223 down-regulation promotes TLR-triggered IL-6 and IL-1β production in macrophages by targeting STAT3.

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Institute of Immunology, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, People's Republic of China.


MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression by either translational inhibition or mRNA degradation. MicroRNAs play pivotal roles in the regulation of both innate and adaptive immune responses, including TLR-triggered inflammatory response. Here we reported that the expression of microRNA-223 (miR-223) was significantly decreased in murine macrophages during activation by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or poly (I∶C) stimulation. The inducible miR-223 down-regulation resulted in the activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), which is directly targeted by miR-223, thus promoting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-1β, but not TNF-α. Interestingly, IL-6 was found to be a main factor in inducing the decrease in miR-223 expression after LPS stimulation, which formed a positive feedback loop to regulate IL-6 and IL-1β. Herein, our findings provide a new explanation characterizing the molecular mechanism responsible for the regulation of IL-6 production after TLR-triggered macrophage activation.

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