miRNA-21 regulates CD69 and IL-10 expression in canine leishmaniasis
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Visceral leishmaniasis in humans is a chronic and fatal disease if left untreated. Canine leishmaniasis (CanL) is a severe public health problem because infected animals are powerful transmitters of the parasite to humans via phlebotomine vectors. Therefore, dogs are an essential target for control measures. Progression of canine infection is accompanied by failure of cellular immunity with reduction of circulating lymphocytes and increased cytokines that suppress macrophage function. Studies showed that the regulation of the effector function of macrophages and T cells appears to depend on miRNAs; miRNA-21 (miR-21) shows increased expression in splenic leukocytes of dogs with CanL and targets genes related to the immune response. Mimics and inhibitors of miR-21 were used in vitro to transfect splenic leukocytes from dogs with CanL. After transfection, expression levels of the proteins FAS, FASL, CD69, CCR7, TNF-α, IL-17, IFN-γ, and IL-10 were measured. FAS, FASL, CD69, and CCR7 expression levels decreased in splenic leukocytes from dogs with CanL. The miR-21 mimic decreased CD69 expression in splenic leukocytes from CanL and healthy groups. The miR-21 inhibitor decreased IL-10 levels in culture supernatants from splenic leukocytes in the CanL group. These findings suggest that miR-21 alters the immune response in CanL; therefore, miR-21 could be used as a possible therapeutic target for CanL.
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