Cell Immunol. 2021 Jul;365:104382.doi: 10.1016/j.cellimm.2021.104382. Epub 2021 May 20.

MicroRNA-26b-5p alleviates murine collagen-induced arthritis by modulating Th17 cell plasticity

Ming-Fei Zhang  1 Pei Yang  1 Mei-Yu Shen  1 Xiang Wang  1 Nai-Xin Gao  2 Xue-Ping Zhou  3 Ling-Ling Zhou  4 Yan Lu  5 Affiliations


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease, and the abnormal differentiation of IL-17-producing T helper (Th17) cells is an important factor in the pathogenesis. Previous studies have shown that microRNAs (miRNAs, miR) act as key regulators of Th17 cells. However, the effects of miRNAs on Th17 cell differentiation and plasticity in RA are not clear. In this study, not only low miR-26b-5p expression and high IL-17A level were observed in the peripheral blood of RA patients, but also the negative correlation between miR-26b-5p and IL-17A was explored. The changes in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) mice were consistent with those in RA patients. The results of in vitro experiments showed that miR-26b-5p mainly inhibited the initial differentiation of Th17 cells but did not impact the differentiation of induced-Treg into Th17-like cells. Meanwhile, miR-26b-5p mimics treatment alleviated inflammatory responses and reduced Th17 proportion in CIA mice. These results indicated that miR-26b-5p could alleviate the development of mice CIA by inhibiting the excessive Th17 cells, and that miR-26b-5p could modulate the plasticity of Th17 cell differentiation in RA, mainly block the initial differentiation. This may provide a novel strategy for the clinical treatment of RA.

Keywords: Collagen-induced arthritis; MicroRNA-26b-5p; Rheumatoid arthritis; Th17 cell differentiation; Th17 cell plasticity.