Macrophages are heterogeneous and plastic cells which are able to undergo dynamic transition between M1 and M2 polarized phenotypes in response to the microenvironment signals. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of macrophage polarization are still obscure. In the current study, it was revealed that miR-146a might play a pivotal role in macrophage polarization. As our results indicated, miR-146a was highly expressed in M2 macrophages rather than M1 macrophages. Over-expression of miR-146a resulted in significantly decreased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines including iNOS and TNF-α in M1 macrophages, while increased production of M2 marker genes such as Arg1 and CD206 in M2 macrophages. In contrast, knockdown of miR-146a promoted M1 macrophage polarization but diminished M2 macrophage polarization. Mechanistically, it was revealed that miR-146a modulated macrophage polarization by targeting Notch1. Of note, PPARγ was responsible as another target for miR-146a-mediated macrophage polarization. Taken together, it was suggested that miR-146a might serve as a molecular regulator in macrophage polarization and is a potential therapeutic target for inflammatory diseases.
Huang, C., Liu, X. J., QunZhou, Xie, J., Ma, T. T., Meng, X. M., & Li, J. (2016). MiR-146a modulates macrophage polarization by inhibiting Notch1 pathway in RAW264.7 macrophages. International Immunopharmacology, 32, 46–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2016.01.009