Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 339–345 | Cite as

MicroRNA expression in the affected skin of adult patients with IgA vasculitis

  • Alojzija HočevarEmail author
  • Matija Tomšič
  • Jože Pižem
  • Luka Bolha
  • Snežna Sodin-Šemrl
  • Damjan Glavač
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Rheumatology in Slovenia: Clinical practice and translational research


IgA vasculitis (IgAV) represents a common systemic vasculitis in pediatric and adult population. Our current knowledge of disease pathogenesis is still very limited, without information on miRNAs in IgAV. The aim of our study was to determine the expression of five pre-selected miRNAs (miRNA-146a-5p, miRNA-148-3p, miRNA-155-5p, miRNA-223-3p, and let-7b) in the affected skin of adult IgAV patients. The study included 65 skin samples from consecutive, untreated IgAV patients (61.5% male, median age 67.6 years, range 29–91), diagnosed between October 2014 and September 2016, and 20 samples of normal skin from healthy volunteers. Total RNA was isolated from tissue sections of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples. Expression of miRNAs was measured using qRT-PCR. To present relative miRNA expression, the ΔΔCT method was used. Skin miRNA expression was correlated to clinical characteristics of adult IgAV patients. We found significantly higher levels of miRNA-155-5p, miRNA-223-3p, and let-7b in the affected skin compared to controls (18.6-fold, 6.4-fold, and 7.9-fold higher respectively). Contrary, the miRNA 148-3p expression was significantly lower (2.2-fold). The expression of the miRNA-146-5p showed near normal levels. Patients with necrotic skin lesions had significantly higher miRNA-223 tissue expression than those with non-necrotic purpura (p = 0.029). Gastrointestinal tract involvement inversely correlated with the expression of miRNA-155-5p and/or miRNA-146a-5p in affected skin. Altered expression of miRNA-148b-3p, miRNA-155-5p, miRNA-223-3p, and let-7b was found in vasculitic skin lesions in IgAV. Additionally, we found a positive association between the severity of purpura and skin miRNA-223-3p expression. Aberrantly expressed miRNAs could represent a biomarker in adult IgAV.


Henoch Schönlein purpura IgA vasculitis MicroRNA expression Vasculitic skin lesions 



The authors acknowledge Nina Hauptman, Ph.D.; Daša Jevšinek-Skok, Ph.D; Alenka Matjašič, Ph.D.; Ana Dolinar; and Gašper Grubelnik for the technical help.

Funding statement

The authors would like to acknowledge funding from the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS) for the National Research Program P3-0314.

Compliance with ethical standards

All patients and controls signed a written consent form. The study was approved by the ethical approval # 99/04/15 obtained from the Slovenian National Medical Ethics Committee.




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Copyright information

© International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RheumatologyUniversity Medical Centre LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  3. 3.Institute of Pathology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  4. 4.Faculty of MathematicsNatural Science and Information Technologies University of PrimorskaKoperSlovenia

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