MicroRNAs in autoimmunity and inflammatory bowel disease: Crucial regulators in immune response

Marisa Iborra, Francesca Bernuzzi, Pietro Invernizzi, Silvio Danese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have recently emerged as a new class of modulators of gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. The function of miRNA is the control of protein production by targeting mRNAs for translational repression or degradation. MiRNAs play a critical role in many biological processes such as cellular proliferation and maturation, apoptosis, regulation of chronic inflammation and development of cancer. It has recently been discovered that miRNAs are differentially expressed in autoimmune diseases (AID) and miRNA regulation may impact in the development or prevention of AID. In this paper we review the importance of miRNAs in AID in particular in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is an AID whose pathophysiology remains uncertain. It is generally hypothesized that IBD is caused by the enteric microflora in genetically predisposed patients with an immune dysregulation in the gastrointestinal tract. Knowing the typical miRNA pattern of IBD will improve our knowledge of the pathogenesis of this disease and will lead to future well-focused projects to study the regulatory function of such miRNAs. Furthermore, it is possible that some miRNAs are specific to IBD and could serve as biomarkers with clinical applications for the diagnosis or assessment of disease activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-314
Number of pages10
JournalAutoimmunity Reviews
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Autoimmune disease
  • Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Inflammation
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • MicroRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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