Targeting miR-21 to Treat Psoriasis

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Science Translational Medicine  26 Feb 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 225, pp. 225re1
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008089

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Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin disease with limited treatment options that is characterized by a complex interplay between keratinocytes, immune cells, and inflammatory mediators. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are regulators of gene expression and play critical roles in many human diseases. A number of miRNAs have been described to be up-regulated in psoriasis, but their causal contribution to disease development has not been demonstrated. We confirm that miR-21 expression is increased in epidermal lesions of patients with psoriasis and that this leads to reduced epidermal TIMP-3 (tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase 3) expression and activation of TACE (tumor necrosis factor–α–converting enzyme)/ADAM17 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17). Using patient-derived skin samples and mouse models of psoriasis, we demonstrate that increased miR-21 may be a consequence of impaired transcriptional activity of Jun/activating protein 1 (AP-1), leading to activation of the interleukin-6 (IL-6)/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) pathway. Inhibition of miR-21 by locked nucleic acid (LNA)–modified anti–miR-21 compounds ameliorated disease pathology in patient-derived psoriatic skin xenotransplants in mice and in a psoriasis-like mouse model. Targeting miR-21 may represent a potential therapeutic option for the treatment of psoriasis.

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