Altered microRNA expression in B lymphocytes in multiple sclerosis: towards a better understanding of treatment effects

Clin Immunol. 2012 Jul;144(1):70-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2012.04.002. Epub 2012 May 2.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are posttranscriptional 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.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / immunology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / genetics
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / immunology*
  • Natalizumab


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • MicroRNAs
  • Natalizumab