Experimental & molecular medicine

MiR-155 modulates the inflammatory phenotype of intestinal myofibroblasts by targeting SOCS1 in ulcerative colitis.

PMID 25998827


Abnormal levels of microRNA (miR)-155, which regulate inflammation and immune responses, have been demonstrated in the colonic mucosa of patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), although its role in disease pathophysiology is unknown. We investigated the role of miR-155 in the acquisition and maintenance of an activated phenotype by intestinal myofibroblasts (IMF), a key cell population contributing to mucosal damage in IBD. IMF were isolated from colonic biopsies of healthy controls, ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD) patients. MiR-155 in IMF was quantified by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR in basal condition and following exposure to TNF-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or TGF-β1. The effects of miR-155 mimic or inhibitor transfection on cytokine release and suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1) expression were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and western blot, respectively. Regulation of the target gene SOCS1 expression by miR-155 was assessed using luciferase reporter construct. We found that miR-155 was significantly upregulated in UC as compared with control- and CD-derived IMF. Moreover, TNF-α and LPS, but not TGF-β1 and IL-1β, significantly increased miR-155 expression in IMF. Ectopic expression of miR-155 in control IMF augmented cytokines release, whereas it downregulated SOCS1 expression. MiR-155 knockdown in UC-IMF reduced cytokine production and enhanced SOCS1 expression. Luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that miR-155 directly targets SOCS1. Moreover, silencing of SOCS1 in control IMF significantly increased IL-6 and IL-8 release. In all, our data suggest that inflammatory mediators induce miR-155 expression in IMF of patients with UC. By downregulating the expression of SOCS1, miR-155 wires IMF inflammatory phenotype.