Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) is a valuable therapeutic strategy for a wide variety of diseases. Acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) is a major complication in up to 75% of allo-HSCT. The absence of a reliable predicative marker for aGVHD onset prevents preemptive treatment and impedes widespread and successful application of this therapy. In this study we found that after allo-HSCT, the levels of miR-181a were reduced significantly prior to the onset of aGVHD. More importantly, the degree of its reduction correlated with the severity of aGVHD. Mechanistically, miR-181a affects the function of T lymphocytes by down-regulating IFN-γ in a dose-dependent manner. Meanwhile, we confirmed that miR-181a can effectively preserve the anti-leukemic effect in vitro. Using a murine allo-HSCT model, we demonstrated that murine miR-181b, the human miR-181a homolog, served as an effective predictor of aGVHD. Moreover, expression of this microRNA ameliorated the severity of aGVHD. Collectively, these results show that the level of miR-181a may serve as a reliable marker for the diagnosis and prognosis the onset of aGVHD.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/dianzheng_zhang/38/