MiR-185-5p measurement assists in reflecting Th1/Th2 cell imbalance, inflammatory cytokine production, and exacerbation risk for childhood asthma

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Chunmei Li
Yiran Zhao
Chunquan Cai
Zhenkui Liu
Junshuai Ma
Yanhong Song
Yanwen Zhang
Weiping Guo
Yanhui Lu
Jing Xing
Yanfei Wang
Wenbin Li
Wei Shi
Haixin Qu


Childhood asthma, exacerbation severity, miR-185-5p, inflammatory cytokines, Th1/Th2 cells


Background: MicroRNA (miR)-185-5p participates in the pathology of asthma by regulating immune imbalance, inflammation, periostin synthesis, and smooth muscle contraction. This study intended to explore the dysregulation of miR-185p and its correlation with T-helper (Th)1, Th2 cells, and inflammatory cytokines in childhood asthma.

Methods: In 150 childhood asthma patients and 30 healthy controls (HCs), miR-185-5p from peripheral blood mononuclear cells was detected using reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction, Th cells from peripheral blood samples were detected using flow cytometry, inflammatory cytokines from serum samples were detected using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results: MiR-185-5p was increased in childhood asthma patients versus HCs [median (interquartile range (IQR)): 2.315 (1.770–3.855) versus 1.005 (0.655–1.520)] (P < 0.001). Meanwhile, miR-185-5p was negatively associated with Th1 cells (P = 0.035) but positively correlated with Th2 cells (P = 0.006) and IL-4 (P = 0.003) in childhood asthma patients; however, miR-185-5p was not linked to Th1 cells, Th2 cells, IFN-γ, or IL-4 in HCs (all P > 0.05). In addition, miR-185-5p was positively related to TNF-α (P < 0.001), IL-1β (P = 0.015), and IL-6 (P = 0.008) in childhood asthma patients, miR-185-5p was only linked to TNF-α (P = 0.040) but not IL-1β or IL-6 (both P > 0.05) in HCs. Moreover, miR-185-5p was increased in exacerbated childhood asthma patients versus remissive patients [median (IQR): 3.170 (2.070–4.905) versus 1.900 (1.525–2.615)] (P < 0.001). Besides, miR-185-5p was highest in patients with severe exacerbation followed by patients with moderate exacerbation, and lowest in patients with mild exacerbation (P = 0.010).

Conclusion: MiR-185-5p is associated with imbalanced Th1/Th2 cells, increased inflammatory cytokines along with elevated exacerbation risk, and severity in childhood asthma patients.

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