Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) result from pathophysiologically distinct dysregulated immune responses, as evidenced by the preponderance of differing immune cell mediators and circulating cytokine expression profiles. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, noncoding RNAs that act as negative regulators of gene expression and have an increasingly recognized role in immune regulation. We hypothesized that differences in circulating immune cells in CD and UC patients are reflected by altered miRNA expression and that miRNA expression patterns can distinguish CD and UC from normal healthy individuals.
Peripheral blood was obtained from patients with active CD, inactive CD, active UC, inactive UC, and normal healthy adults. Total RNA was isolated and miRNA expression assessed using miRNA microarray and validated by mature miRNA quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction.
Five miRNAs were significantly increased and two miRNAs (149* and miRplus-F1065) were significantly decreased in the blood of active CD patients as compared to healthy controls. Twelve miRNAs were significantly increased and miRNA-505* was significantly decreased in the blood of active UC patients as compared to healthy controls. Ten miRNAs were significantly increased and one miRNA was significantly decreased in the blood of active UC patients as compared to active CD patients.
Peripheral blood miRNAs can be used to distinguish active CD and UC from healthy controls. The data support the evidence that CD and UC are associated with different circulating immune cells types and that the differential expression of peripheral blood miRNAs may form the basis of future diagnostic tests for inflammatory bowel disease. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2011;)