BACKGROUND - Cytokine responses to activation of innate immunity differ between individuals, yet the genomic and tissue-specific transcriptomic determinants of inflammatory responsiveness are not well understood. We hypothesized that tissue-specific mRNA and long intergenic noncoding RNA (lincRNA) induction differs between individuals with divergent evoked inflammatory responses.
METHODS - In the GENE Study (Genetics of Evoked Response to Niacin and Endotoxemia), we performed an inpatient endotoxin challenge (1 ng/kg lipopolysaccharide [LPS]) in healthy humans. We selected individuals in the top (high responders) and bottom (low responders) extremes of inflammatory responses and applied RNA sequencing to CD14 monocytes (N=15) and adipose tissue (N=25) before and after LPS administration.
RESULTS - Although only a small number of genes were differentially expressed at baseline, there were clear differences in the magnitude of the transcriptional response post-LPS between high and low responders, with a far greater number of genes differentially expressed by endotoxemia in high responders. Furthermore, tissue responses differed during inflammation, and we found a number of tissue-specific differentially expressed lincRNAs post-LPS, which we validated. Relative to nondifferentially expressed lincRNAs, differentially expressed lincRNAs were equally likely to be nonconserved as conserved between human and mouse, indicating that conservation is not a predictor of lincRNAs associated with human inflammatory pathophysiology. Differentially expressed genes also were enriched for signals with inflammatory and cardiometabolic disease in published genome-wide association studies. CTB-41I6.2 ( AC002091.1), a nonconserved human-specific lincRNA, is one of the top lincRNAs regulated by endotoxemia in monocytes, but not in adipose tissue. Knockdown experiments in THP-1 monocytes suggest that this lincRNA enhances LPS-induced interleukin 6 ( IL6) expression in monocytes, and we now refer to this as monocyte LPS-induced lincRNA regulator of IL6 ( MOLRIL6).
CONCLUSIONS - We highlight mRNAs and lincRNAs that represent novel candidates for modulation of innate immune and metabolic responses in humans.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION - URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov . Unique identifier: NCT00953667.