Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Micro RNAs and Transplantation

A novel concept has been emerging in the last few years regarding micro RNAs.  It already has reached some human data in transplant patients.
What is micro RNA?  These are non coding areas of the RNA that play a critical role in regulation of gene expression. They might alter the structure and lead to either expression or regression of the protein in question.
There is mice data that microRNAs play a role in immune response, adaptive immunity, inflammation, fibrosis and epithelial changes.  The role of microRNA will help us understand intracellular signalling, expression of proteins, modulation of cytokines, and graft response better.
Few simple examples are: miR 155 regulates immune response to bacterial infections and viral infections and helps in the crosstalk macrophage becoming an activated macrophage.  Myeloid stem cell goes to becoming a mast cell due to miR 223; and so forth.
What is more fascinating is the role of this in Transplantation.  How can this be useful in transplantation? they can be measured in serum, urine and plasma.  Two studies have now shown that the micro RNA pattern in the in renal allograft biopsies is different in acute rejection episodes vs controls.
The future looks good:- These might be good panel of markers for allograft status.  Therapeutic use of this application in altering the microRNA enviornment might be of advantage to prevent fibrosis or rejection.

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