microRNAs are small noncoding RNA molecules that regulate RNA silencing and posttranscriptional gene expression, and many microRNAs are involved in inflammatory processes. In particular, microRNA 21 (miR-21) is upregulated in inflammatory environment and reported to induce anti-inflammatory responses. However, the involvement of miR-21 in pulpal inflammation and the precise mechanisms of anti-inflammatory reactions induced by miR-21 remain unclear. We hypothesized that miR-21-5p expression is induced in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated human dental pulp cells (hDPCs) and that miR-21-5p downregulates the proinflammatory cytokine expression in LPS-stimulated hDPCs. We found that miR-21-5p was upregulated in LPS-stimulated hDPCs concomitant with elevated proinflammatory cytokine expression and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) phosphorylation. miR-21-5p and cytokine expression were downregulated by BAY11-7085 and caffeic acid phenylethyl ester (CAPE), specific and potent NF-κB inhibitors. Enforced expression of miR-21-5p downregulated the Toll-like receptor (TLR)/NF-κB signaling via reducing the expression of TNF receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) and programmed cell death 4 (PDCD4), which further induced the decrease of proinflammatory cytokine expression. hDPCs forcibly overexpressing miR-21-5p downregulated the LPS-induced expression of TNF receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6; a component of the Toll-like receptor [TLR]/NF-κB signaling pathway), programmed cell death 4 (PDCD4, a positive regulator of the TLR/NF-κB signaling pathway), and proinflammatory cytokines. In contrast, miR-21-5p inhibitor-transfected hDPCs upregulated the expression of TRAF6, PDCD4, and inflammatory cytokines following LPS stimulation. These findings suggest that miR-21-5p expression was induced by the NF-κB signaling pathway, which was in turn negatively regulated by miR-21-5p via downregulation of TRAF6 and PDCD4 expression in LPS-stimulated hDPCs.
Keywords: NF-κB signaling pathway; anti-inflammation; dental pulp cell; microRNA 21; proinflammatory cytokine.
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.