• API5;
  • miR-145;
  • miR-224;
  • STAT-1;
  • systemic lupus erythematosus


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease with abnormal T cell immune responses. We hypothesized that aberrant expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) in T cells may contribute to the pathogenesis of SLE. First, we analysed the expression profiles of 270 human miRNAs in T cells from five SLE patients and five healthy controls and then validated those potentially aberrant-expressed miRNAs using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Then, the expression of mRNAs regulated by these aberrant-expressed miRNAs was detected using real-time PCR. Finally, miRNA transfection into Jurkat T cells was conducted for confirming further the biological functions of these miRNAs. The initial analysis indicated that seven miRNAs, including miR-145, miR-224, miR-513-5p, miR-150, miR-516a-5p, miR-483-5p and miR-629, were found to be potentially abnormally expressed in SLE T cells. After validation, under-expressed miR-145 and over-expressed miR-224 were noted. We further found that STAT1 mRNA targeted by miR-145 was over-expressed and apoptosis inhibitory protein 5 (API5) mRNA targeted by miR-224 was under-expressed in SLE T cells. Transfection of Jurkat cells with miR-145 suppressed STAT1 and miR-224 transfection suppressed API5 protein expression. Over-expression of miR-224 facilitates activation-induced cell death in Jurkat cells. In the clinical setting, the increased transcript levels of STAT1 were associated significantly with lupus nephritis. In conclusion, we first demonstrated that miR-145 and miR-224 were expressed aberrantly in SLE T cells that modulated the protein expression of their target genes, STAT1 and API5, respectively. These miRNA aberrations accelerated T cell activation-induced cell death by suppressing API5 expression and associated with lupus nephritis by enhancing signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 (STAT)-1 expression in patients with SLE.