The role of microRNA-155 as a master-switch determining the balance of inflammation and fibrosis in chronic disorders

University of Glasgow

Past award

Student: Brian Morton

Year Award Started: 2013

New molecules called microRNA (miR) have been discovered recently. They are safeguards of normal cell behaviour thus organ function. Their malfunction often leads to development of diseases: we discovered that too much of one of these molecules (miR-155) is associated with severe inflammation (e.g. arthritis). However, too little is associated with fibrosis (e.g. lung fibrosis). This project aims to find out how miR-155 works; and how it can be controlled as a new treatment strategy for arthritis and pulmonary fibrosis. The key cellular functions controlled by miR-155 will be studied in mouse models of arthritis or lung fibrosis as well as in cells taken from patients with arthritis and pulmonary fibrosis. In order to restore tissues’ normal functions, we will bring back the proper levels of miR-155 in experimental arthritis and fibrosis using a new safe method of drug delivery developed by a Scottish biomedical company. we hope to discover the cell functions controlled by miR-155 and how they are associated with disease processes, and the feasibility of reversing tissue pathology by modifying miR-155. There is no effective therapy for lung fibrosis and treatment-resistant arthritis. This project may provide a novel way of controlling these diseases.

Research area: Infections, inflammation or immunology


Professor Iain McInnes
Institute for Infection, Immunity and Inflammation
Dr Mariola Kurowska-Stolarska
Institute for Infection, Immunity and Inflammation

Lamellar Biomedical Ltd