Background: Behçet's disease (BD) is a chronic inflammatory multisystem disease characterized by oral and genital ulcers, uveitis, and skin lesions. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are key regulators of immune responses. Differential expression of miRNAs has been reported in several inflammatory autoimmune diseases; however, their role in BD is not fully elucidated. We aimed to identify miRNA expression signatures associated with BD and to investigate their potential implication in the disease pathogenesis.
Methods: miRNA microarray analysis was performed in blood cells of BD patients and healthy controls. miRNA expression profiles were analyzed using Affymetrix arrays with a comprehensive coverage of miRNA sequences. Pathway analyses were performed, and the global miRNA profiling was combined with transcriptoma data in BD. Deregulation of selected miRNAs was validated by real-time PCR.
Results: We identified specific miRNA signatures associated with BD patients with active disease. These miRNAs target pathways relevant in BD, such as TNF, IFN gamma, and VEGF-VEGFR signaling cascades. Network analysis revealed several miRNAs regulating highly connected genes within the BD transcriptoma.
Conclusions: The combined analysis of deregulated miRNAs and BD transcriptome sheds light on some epigenetic aspects of BD identifying specific miRNAs, which may represent promising candidates as biomarkers and/or for the design of novel therapeutic strategies in BD.
- Behcet Syndrome/genetics
- Gene Expression Profiling
- Gene Regulatory Networks/genetics
- High-Throughput Screening Assays
- Microarray Analysis
- Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor/genetics
- Signal Transduction
- Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/genetics
- Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A/genetics