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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016, Article ID 3958453, 9 pages
Research Article

miR-146a Attenuates Inflammatory Pathways Mediated by TLR4/NF-κB and TNFα to Protect Primary Human Retinal Microvascular Endothelial Cells Grown in High Glucose

1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
2Department of Ophthalmology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48201, USA

Received 10 December 2015; Revised 29 January 2016; Accepted 31 January 2016

Academic Editor: Ulrich Eisel

Copyright © 2016 Eun-Ah Ye and Jena J. Steinle. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pathological mechanisms underlying diabetic retinopathy are still not completely understood. Increased understanding of potential cellular pathways responsive to hyperglycemia is essential to develop novel therapeutic strategies for diabetic retinopathy. A growing body of evidence shows that microRNA (miRNA) play important roles in pathological mechanisms involved in diabetic retinopathy, as well as possessing potential as novel therapeutic targets. The hypothesis of this study was that miR-146a plays a key role in attenuating hyperglycemia-induced inflammatory pathways through reduced TLR4/NF-κB and TNFα signaling in primary human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (REC). We cultured human REC in normal (5 mM) glucose or transferred to high glucose medium (25 mM) for 3 days. Transfection was performed on REC with miRNA mimic (hsa-miR-146a-5p). Our results demonstrate that miR-146a expression was decreased in human REC cultured in high glucose. Overexpression of miR-146a using mimics reduced the levels of TLR4/NF-κB and TNFα in REC cultured in high glucose. Both MyD88-dependent and -independent signaling were decreased by miR-146a overexpression in REC in high glucose conditions. The results suggest that miR-146a is a potential therapeutic target for reducing inflammation in REC through inhibition of TLR4/NF-κB and TNFα. Our study will contribute to understanding of diabetic retinal pathology, as well as providing important clues to develop therapeutics for clinical applications.