King's College London

Research portal

MicroRNA23a Overexpression in Crohn's Disease Targets Tumour Necrosis Factor Alpha Inhibitor Protein 3, Increasing Sensitivity to TNF and Modifying the Epithelial Barrier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Richard K. Felwick, Geraint J.R. Dingley, Rocio Martinez-Nunez, Tilman Sanchez-Elsner, J. R.Fraser Cummings, Jane E. Collins

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-392
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Crohn's and Colitis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2020

King's Authors


Background and Aims: Mucosal healing is important in Crohn's disease therapies. Epithelial homeostasis becomes dysregulated in Crohn's, with increased permeability, inflammation, and diarrhoea. MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression and show changes in inflammatory bowel disease. Tumour necrosis factor alpha [TNFα] inhibitor protein 3 is raised in Crohn's and regulates TNFα-mediated activation of NFκB. We investigated TNFα regulation by microRNA in Crohn's disease [CD], and studied effects on epithelial permeability and inflammation. Methods: Colonic epithelium from CD and healthy donor biopsies was isolated using laser capture microdissection, and microRNA was quantified. Tumour necrosis factor alpha inhibitor protein 3 was characterised immunohistochemically on serial sections. Expression effect of microRNA was confirmed with luciferase reporter assays. Functional barrier permeability studies and innate cytokine release were investigated with cell and explant culture studies. Results: MicroRNA23a levels significantly increased in colonic Crohn's epithelium compared with healthy epithelium. Luciferase reporter assays in transfected epithelial cells confirmed that microRNA23a repressed expression via the 3' untranslated region of tumour necrosis factor alpha inhibitor protein 3 mRNA, coinciding with increased NFκB-mediated transcription. Immunohistochemical staining of TNFAIP3 protein in colonic biopsies was reduced or absent in adjacent Crohn's sections, correlating inversely with microRNA23a levels and encompassing some intercohort variation. Overexpression of microRNA23a increased epithelial barrier permeability in a colonic epithelial model and increased inflammatory cytokine release in cultured explant biopsies, mimicking Crohn's disease characteristics. Conclusions: MicroRNA23a overexpression in colonic Crohn's epithelium represses tumour necrosis factor alpha inhibitor protein 3, enhancing sensitivity to TNFα, with increased intestinal permeability and cytokine release.

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454