Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a prototype, female predominant autoimmune disease. The functional importance and pathogenic contribution of microRNAs (miRNAs) to lupus are now highly recognized. We reported recently a common set of lupus-associated miRNAs including miR-182-96-183 cluster, miR-155, miR-31, and miR-127 in three spontaneous murine lupus models including NZB/WF1. To understand whether miRNAs are differentially expressed in males versus females, and thereby contribute to increased susceptibility to lupus in female NZB/WF1, we analyzed the expression of above miRNAs in splenic lymphocytes from male and female NZB/WF1 mice at different disease stages. Our data indicated that there is no significant difference in the expression of above lupus-associated miRNAs between female and male NZB/WF1 at 17-18wk old, an age before the onset of disease. However, by 23 weeks of age (when NZB/WF1 begin to develop mild lupus disease) the expression levels of miR-182, miR-183, miR-127, and miR-31 were significantly up-regulated in female NZB/WF1 mice compared to age-matched male controls. The expression levels of these miRNAs were further increased in 30 wk old females, following the progression of lupus disease. There was also a slight increasing trend of the above miRNAs in 30 wk old male NZB/WF1 mice when compared to 23 wk old male mice, however it was not significant. Taken together, our study further suggested the association of these miRNAs with lupus development.
- Copyright © 2013 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.