Glucocorticoids have strong regulatory actions on the immune system and act as potent therapeutic compounds for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. We previously reported that the long noncoding RNA growth arrest-specific 5 (Gas5), which accumulates inside the cells in response to cellular starvation/growth arrest, functions as a potent repressor of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) through its RNA glucocorticoid response element (GRE). To evaluate potential roles of Gas5 in immune-related disorders, we examined Gas5 RNA levels in various autoimmune, inflammatory, and infectious diseases using the microarray data available in the Gene Expression Omnibus. We found that Gas5 levels were altered in whole blood or leukocytes of the patients with rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, and sarcoidosis. Gas5 levels were also altered in infectious diseases, such as by the human immunodeficiency virus type-1 and influenza virus, and bacterial sepsis. In our experimental analysis using mice, Gas5 levels were kept at high basal levels and did not respond to fasting in immune organs, such as spleen and thymus, while its levels in metabolic organs, including liver, fat, and skeletal muscles, were low at baseline and were highly elevated upon this treatment, possibly through suppression of the mTOR pathway. These results suggest that Gas5 plays a role in the regulation of immune functions and pathogenesis/pathophysiology of autoimmune, inflammatory, and infectious diseases in part through modulation of the GR transcriptional activity via its decoy RNA GRE. Changes in the Gas5 levels may also influence disease response to immunosuppressive glucocorticoid therapy.
- autoimmune diseases
- mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)
- tissue glucocorticoid sensitivity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical