Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a chronic autoimmune disease mainly affecting the connective tissue. In SSc patients, monocytes are increased in circulation, infiltrate affected tissues, and show a pro-inflammatory activation status, including the so-called interferon (IFN) signature. We previously demonstrated that the dysregulation of the IFN response in SSc monocytes is sustained by altered epigenetic factors as well as by upregulation of the long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) NRIR. Considering the enormously diverse molecular functions of lncRNAs in immune regulation, the present study investigated the genome-wide profile of lncRNAs in SSc monocytes, with the aim to further unravel their possible role in monocyte dysregulation and disease pathogenesis. Transcriptomic data from two independent cohorts of SSc patients identified 886 lncRNAs with an altered expression in SSc monocytes. Differentially expressed lncRNAs were correlated with neighboring protein coding genes implicated in the regulation of IFN responses and apoptotic signaling in SSc monocytes. In parallel, gene co-expression network analysis identified the lncRNA PSMB8-AS1 as a top-ranking hub gene in co-expression modules implicated in cell activation and response to viral and external stimuli. Functional characterization of PSMB8-AS1 in monocytes demonstrated that this lncRNA is involved in the secretion of IL-6 and TNFα, two pivotal pro-inflammatory cytokines altered in the circulation of SSc patients and associated with fibrosis and disease severity. Collectively, our data showed that lncRNAs are linked to monocyte dysregulation in SSc, and highlight their potential contribution to disease pathogenesis.

Characterization of Long Non-Coding RNAs in Systemic Sclerosis Monocytes: A Potential Role for PSMB8-AS1 in Altered Cytokine Secretion

Barbara Mariotti;Flavia Bazzoni;Marzia Rossato
2021-01-01

Abstract

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a chronic autoimmune disease mainly affecting the connective tissue. In SSc patients, monocytes are increased in circulation, infiltrate affected tissues, and show a pro-inflammatory activation status, including the so-called interferon (IFN) signature. We previously demonstrated that the dysregulation of the IFN response in SSc monocytes is sustained by altered epigenetic factors as well as by upregulation of the long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) NRIR. Considering the enormously diverse molecular functions of lncRNAs in immune regulation, the present study investigated the genome-wide profile of lncRNAs in SSc monocytes, with the aim to further unravel their possible role in monocyte dysregulation and disease pathogenesis. Transcriptomic data from two independent cohorts of SSc patients identified 886 lncRNAs with an altered expression in SSc monocytes. Differentially expressed lncRNAs were correlated with neighboring protein coding genes implicated in the regulation of IFN responses and apoptotic signaling in SSc monocytes. In parallel, gene co-expression network analysis identified the lncRNA PSMB8-AS1 as a top-ranking hub gene in co-expression modules implicated in cell activation and response to viral and external stimuli. Functional characterization of PSMB8-AS1 in monocytes demonstrated that this lncRNA is involved in the secretion of IL-6 and TNFα, two pivotal pro-inflammatory cytokines altered in the circulation of SSc patients and associated with fibrosis and disease severity. Collectively, our data showed that lncRNAs are linked to monocyte dysregulation in SSc, and highlight their potential contribution to disease pathogenesis.
autoimmune
co-expression network
long non-coding RNA
monocytes
systemic sclerosis
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1043579
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