Microvesicle-Derived miRNAs Regulate Proinflammatory Macrophage Activation in the Lung Following Ozone Exposure

Jonathan M. Carnino, Heedoo Lee, Ley Cody Smith, Vasanthi R. Sunil, Raymond C. Rancourt, Kinal Vayas, Jessica Cervelli, Zhi Hao Kwok, Kareemah Ni, Jeffrey D. Laskin, Yang Jin, Debra L. Laskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Ozone is a ubiquitous air pollutant that causes lung damage and altered functioning. Evidence suggests that proinflammatory macrophages contribute to ozone toxicity. Herein, we analyzed the role of extracellular vesicles (EVs) and microRNA (miRNA) cargo in ozone-induced macrophage activation. Exposure of mice to ozone (0.8 ppm, 3 h) resulted in increases in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid EVs, which were comprised predominantly of microvesicles (MVs). NanoFACS analysis revealed that MVs generated following both air and ozone exposure was largely from CD45+ myeloid cells; these MVs were readily taken up by macrophages. Functionally, MVs from ozone, but not air treated mice, upregulated mRNA expression of inflammatory proteins in macrophages including inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), CXCL-1, CXCL-2, and interleukin (IL)-1β. The miRNA profile of MVs in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was altered after ozone exposure; thus, increases in miR-21, miR-145, miR320a, miR-155, let-7b, miR744, miR181, miR-17, miR-92a, and miR-199a-3p were observed, whereas miR-24-3p and miR-20 were reduced. Ingenuity pathway analysis revealed that these miRNAs regulate pathways that promote inflammatory macrophage activation, and predicted that let-7a-5p/let-7b, miR-24-3p, miR-21-5p, miR-17, and miR-181a-5p are key upstream regulators of inflammatory proteins. After ozone exposure, miR-199a-3p, but not precursor miR-199a-3p, was increased in lung macrophages, indicating that it is derived from MV-mediated delivery. Furthermore, lung macrophage mRNA expression of IL-1β was upregulated after administration of MVs containing miR-199a-3p mimic but downregulated by miR-199a-3p inhibitor. Collectively, these data suggest that MVs generated following ozone exposure contribute to proinflammatory macrophage activation via MV-derived miRNAs including miR-199a-3p. These findings identify a novel pathway regulating macrophage inflammatory responses to inhaled ozone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-174
Number of pages13
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology


  • extracellular vesicles
  • inflammation
  • macrophages
  • microRNA
  • microvesicles
  • ozone


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