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posted on 2018-04-04, 04:35 authored by Sara Nunes, Icaro Bonyek Silva, Mariana Rosa Ampuero, Almério Libório Lopes de Noronha, Lígia Correia Lima de Souza, Thaizza Cavalcante Correia, Ricardo Khouri, Viviane Sampaio Boaventura, Aldina Barral, Pablo Ivan Pereira Ramos, Cláudia Brodskyn, Pablo Rafael Silveira Oliveira, Natalia Machado Tavares

Localized cutaneous leishmaniasis (LCL) is a chronic disease characterized by ulcerated skin lesion(s) and uncontrolled inflammation. The mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of LCL are not completely understood, and little is known about posttranscriptional regulation during LCL. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding small RNAs that regulate gene expression and can be implicated in the pathogenesis of LCL. We investigated the involvement of miRNAs and their targets genes in human LCL using publicly available transcriptome data sets followed by ex vivo validation. Initial analysis highlighted that miRNA expression is altered during LCL, as patients clustered separately from controls. Joint analysis identified eight high confidence miRNAs that had altered expression (−1.5 ≤ fold change ≥ 1.5; p < 0.05) between cutaneous ulcers and uninfected skin. We found that the expression of miR-193b and miR-671 are greatly associated with their target genes, CD40 and TNFR, indicating the important role of these miRNAs in the expression of genes related to the inflammatory response observed in LCL. In addition, network analysis revealed that miR-193b, miR-671, and TREM1 correlate only in patients who show faster wound healing (up to 59 days) and not in patients who require longer cure times (more than 60 days). Given that these miRNAs are associated with control of inflammation and healing time, our findings reveal that they might influence the pathogenesis and prognosis of LCL.