Graft acceptance without the need for immunosuppressive drugs is the ultimate goal of transplantation therapy. In murine liver transplantation, allografts are accepted across major histocompatibility antigen complex barriers without the use of immunosuppressive drugs and constitute a suitable model for research on immunological rejection and tolerance. MicroRNA (miRNA) has been known to be involved in the immunological responses. In order to identify mRNAs in spontaneous liver allograft tolerance, miRNA expression in hepatic allografts was examined using this transplantation model. According to the graft pathological score and function, miR-146a, 15b, 223, 23a, 27a, 34a and 451 were upregulated compared with the expression observed in the syngeneic grafts. In contrast, miR-101a, 101b and 148a were downregulated. Our results demonstrated the alteration of miRNAs in the allografts and may indicate the role of miRNAs in the induction of tolerance after transplantation. Furthermore, our data suggest that monitoring the graft expression of novel miRNAs may allow clinicians to differentiate between rejection and tolerance. A better understanding of the tolerance inducing mechanism observed in murine hepatic allografts may provide a therapeutic strategy for attenuating allograft rejection.
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