Elevated Expression of the Long Noncoding RNA IFNG-AS1 in the Peripheral Blood from Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis
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Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been increasingly recognized as key immune molecules that participate in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. Previous studies have demonstrated that the lncRNA Ifng-AS1, a key scaffold that contributes to the transcription of IFN-γ, depends on T-bet for active transcription in Th1 cells. However, the effect of its human ortholog, IFNG-AS1, on the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) remains unclear. In this study, we found that the transcript level of lncRNA IFNG-AS1 was increased in the peripheral blood of RA patients. IFNG, as a target gene of IFNG-AS1, was overexpressed and positively correlated with the transcript level of IFNG-AS1 in the RA patients. Our data also showed that the transcript level of T-bet was upregulated and positively correlated with IFNG-AS1 expression. T-bet regulated the transcription of IFNG-AS1 in human CD4+ T cells in vitro. Furthermore, strong positive correlations were observed between the increased transcript level of IFNG-AS1 and the serum level of rheumatoid factor, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and the C-reactive protein in RA patients, and patients positive for anticyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies had increased levels of IFNG-AS1. Finally, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis suggested that IFNG-AS1 might be a potential biomarker of RA. Taken together, our findings indicated that IFNG-AS1, guided by T-bet, is augmented in the peripheral blood of RA patients and may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of RA by regulating the expression of IFNG.