Research Papers:

MicroRNA-146a suppresses rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synoviocytes proliferation and inflammatory responses by inhibiting the TLR4/NF-kB signaling

Wei Liu _, Yuan-Hao Wu, Lei Zhang, Bin Xue, Yi Wang, Bin Liu, Xiao-Ya Liu, Fang Zuo, Xiao-Yan Yang, Fu-Yu Chen, Ran Duan, Yue Cai, Bo Zhang and Yang Ji

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:23944-23959. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24050

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Wei Liu1, Yuan-Hao Wu1,2, Lei Zhang1, Bin Xue1, Yi Wang1, Bin Liu1, Xiao-Ya Liu1, Fang Zuo1, Xiao-Yan Yang1, Fu-Yu Chen1, Ran Duan1, Yue Cai1, Bo Zhang1 and Yang Ji3

1Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, First Teaching Hospital of Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tianjin 300193, China

2Institute of Basic Research in Clinical Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China

3The 272nd Hospital of Chinese People's Liberation Army, Tianjin 300020, China

Correspondence to:

Yuan-Hao Wu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: microRNA-146a; proinflammatory cytokine; fibroblast-like synoviocytes; rheumatoid arthritis; TLR4/NF-κB signaling pathway

Received: March 01, 2017     Accepted: November 16, 2017     Epub: January 08, 2018     Published: May 08, 2018


This study investigated whether microRNA-146a (miR-146a) mediating TLR4/NF-κB pathway affected proliferation and inflammatory responses of rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synoviocytes from 12 RA patients (RA-FLSs). FLSs in the logarithmic growth phase were assigned into the control, miR-146a mimic miR-146a inhibitor, Tak-242 (treated with TLR4/NF-κB pathway inhibitor) and mimic + lipopolysaccharide (LPS) groups. Cell proliferation and apoptosis were detected using CCK-8 assay and flow cytometry. The expression of miR-146a, TLR4/NF-κB pathway-related proteins and cytokines were determined by RT-qPCR, western blotting and ELISA, and the release of NO by Greiss reaction. RA rat models were constructed and the primary cells were classified into the control, negative control (NC), miR-146a mimic, miR-146a inhibitor, Tak-242, mimic + LPS, and TLR4 groups. Immunohistochemistry was used to detect the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and intercellular adhesion molecular-1 (ICAM-1). The results showed that miR-146a levels were lower in RA-FLSs than control fibroblasts. miR-146a mimic and Tak-242 decreased RA-FLS proliferation and increased RA-FLS apoptosis, while miR-146a inhibitor had an opposite trend. miR-146a mimic and Tak-242 also decreased expression of TLR4, NF-κB, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-17, COX-2, MMP-3, Seprase, and iNOS, as well as reduced NO level in RA-FLSs while miR-146a inhibitor and TLR4 increased them. TLR4 and NF-κB levels and the positive rates of PCNA and ICAM-1 expressions were lower in RA-FLSs from RA rats given miR-146a mimic from control or miR-146a inhibitor-treated rats. These results suggest that miR-146a inhibits the proliferation and inflammatory response of RA-FLSs by down-regulating TLR4/NF-κB pathway.

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