Targeting miR-155 to Treat Experimental Scleroderma

Qingran Yan, Jie Chen, Wei Li, Chunde Bao, Qiong Fu
Scientific Reports 2016 February 1, 6: 20314
Scleroderma is a refractory autoimmune skin fibrotic disorder. Alterations of microRNAs in lesional skin could be a new approach to treating the disease. Here, we found that expression of miR-155 was up regulated in lesional skin tissue from patients with either systemic or localized scleroderma, and correlated with fibrosis area. Then we demonstrated the potential of miR-155 as a therapeutic target in pre-clinical scleroderma models. MiR-155(-/-) mice were resistant to bleomycin induced skin fibrosis. Moreover, topical antagomiR-155 could effectively treat mice primed with subcutaneous bleomycin. In primary skin fibroblast, miR-155 silencing could inhibit collagen synthesis function, as well as signaling intensity of two pro-fibrotic pathways, Wnt/β-catenin and Akt, simultaneously. We further showed that miR-155 could regulate the two pathways via directly targeting casein kinase 1α (CK1α) and Src homology 2-containing inositol phosphatase-1 (SHIP-1), as previous reports. Mice with miR-155 knockout or topical antagomir-155 treatment showed inhibited Wnt/β-catenin and Akt signaling in skin upon bleomycin challenge. Together, our data suggest the potential of miR-155 silencing as a promising treatment for dermal fibrosis, especially in topical applications.

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