MicroRNAs control the differentiation and function of B cells, which are considered key elements in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, a common micro(mi)RNA signature has not emerged since published data includes patients of variable ethnic background, type of disease, and organ involvement, as well as heterogeneous cell populations. Here, we aimed at identifying a miRNA signature of purified B cells from renal and non-renal severe SLE patients of Latin American background, a population known to express severe disease. Genome-wide miRNA expression analyses were performed on naive and memory B cells and revealed two categories of miRNA signatures. The first signature represents B cell subset-specific miRNAs deregulated in SLE: 11 and six miRNAs discriminating naive and memory B cells of SLE patients from healthy controls (HC), respectively. Whether the miRNA was up or down-regulated in memory B cells as compared with naive B cells in HC, this difference was abolished in SLE patients, and vice versa. The second signature identifies six miRNAs associated with specific pathologic features affecting renal outcome, providing a further understanding for SLE pathogenesis. Overall, the present work provided promising biomarkers in molecular diagnostics for disease severity as well as potential new targets for therapeutic intervention in SLE.
© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.