Research: micro-RNA may affect B-cell function in MS

EpubSievers C et al. Altered microRNA expression in B lymphocytes in multiple sclerosis: Towards a better understanding of treatment effects. Clin Immunol. 2012;144:70-79. 

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. We compared the expression of 1059 miRNAs in B lymphocytes from untreated and natalizumab treated relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients and healthy volunteers (HV). Forty nine miRNAs were down-regulated in untreated MS patients compared with HV. A distinct pattern of 10 differentially expressed miRNAs was found in natalizumab treated patients compared with untreated patients. Two clusters, i.e. miR-106b-25 and miR-17-92, were particularly deregulated. MiRNA-mRNA interaction analysis revealed B cell receptor, phosphatidyl-inositol-3-kinase (PI3K) and phosphatase and tensin homology (PTEN) signaling being the key affected pathways. 

We discovered deregulated viral miRNAs in untreated patients as compared with HV and natalizumab treated patients, a novel finding that may be related to latency and activation of viruses in MS. Our findings provide first insights into miRNA dependent regulation of B cell function in MS and the impact of a therapy not primarily targeting B cells on this regulation.

We have discussed what micro RNA does and what it is in previous posts and effects how the DNA is transcribed and made into protiens. This study further indicates that the microRNA profile changes during the course of MS. How these functionally affect B cell function is not clear, but their precence suggggests that they will be somehow affecting B cell function. These micro RNA may be generated from within the cell or as a consequence of past viral infection. Could this be a way that latent infections of Epstein Barr Virus influence the immune response? Furtherwork is needed to address this.

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