Time Series miRNA-mRNA integrated analysis reveals critical miRNAs and targets in macrophage polarization

Sci Rep. 2016 Dec 16;6:37446. doi: 10.1038/srep37446.


Polarization of macrophages is regulated through complex signaling networks. Correlating miRNA and mRNA expression over time after macrophage polarization has not yet been investigated. We used paired RNA-Seq and miRNA-Seq experiments to measure the mRNA and miRNA expression in bone marrow-derived macrophages over a time-series of 8 hours. Bioinformatics analysis identified 31 differentially expressed miRNAs between M1 and M2 polarized macrophages. The top 4 M1 miRNAs (miR-155-3p, miR-155-5p, miR-147-3p and miR-9-5p) and top 4 M2 miRNAs (miR-27a-5p, let-7c-1-3p, miR-23a-5p and miR-23b-5p) were validated by qPCR. Interestingly, M1 specific miRNAs could be categorized to early- and late-response groups, in which three new miRNAs miR-1931, miR-3473e and miR-5128 were validated as early-response miRNAs. M1 polarization led to the enrichment of genes involved in immune responses and signal transduction, whereas M2 polarization enriched genes involved in cell cycle and metabolic processes. C2H2 zinc-finger family members are key targets of DE miRNAs. The integrative analysis between miRNAs and mRNAs demonstrates the regulations of miRNAs on nearly four thousand differentially expressed genes and most of the biological pathways enriched in macrophage polarization. In summary, this study elucidates the expression profiles of miRNAs and their potential targetomes during macrophage polarization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Femur / cytology
  • Femur / immunology
  • Femur / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / immunology*
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / immunology
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / immunology
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tibia / cytology
  • Tibia / immunology
  • Tibia / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger