MiR-21 is up-regulated in psoriasis and suppresses T cell apoptosis

Exp Dermatol. 2012 Apr;21(4):312-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2012.01462.x.


MicroRNAs are short non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression. Previously, in a genome-wide screen, we found deregulation of microRNA expression in psoriasis skin. MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) is one of the microRNAs significantly up-regulated in psoriasis skin lesions. To identify the cell type responsible for the increased miR-21 level, we compared expression of miR-21 in epidermal cells and dermal T cells between psoriasis and healthy skin and found elevated levels of miR-21 in psoriasis in both cell types. In cultured T cells, expression of miR-21 increased markedly upon activation. To explore the function of miR-21 in primary human T helper cells, we inhibited miR-21 using a tiny seed-targeting LNA-anti-miR. Specific inhibition of miR-21 increased the apoptosis rate of activated T cells. Our results suggest that miR-21 suppresses apoptosis in activated T cells, and thus, overexpression of miR-21 may contribute to T cell-derived psoriatic skin inflammation.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / genetics*
  • Apoptosis / immunology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation / genetics
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • MicroRNAs / antagonists & inhibitors
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Psoriasis / genetics*
  • Psoriasis / immunology
  • Psoriasis / metabolism
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • Up-Regulation


  • MIRN21 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs