Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are increasingly implicated in the pathology of diabetic complications. Here, we examined the role of lncRNAs in monocyte dysfunction and inflammation associated with human type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D). RNA sequencing analysis of CD14+ monocytes from patients with T2D versus healthy controls revealed downregulation of antiinflammatory and antiproliferative genes, along with several lncRNAs, including a potentially novel divergent lncRNA diabetes regulated antiinflammatory RNA (DRAIR) and its nearby gene CPEB2. High glucose and palmitic acid downregulated DRAIR in cultured CD14+ monocytes, whereas antiinflammatory cytokines and monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation upregulated DRAIR via KLF4 transcription factor. DRAIR overexpression increased antiinflammatory and macrophage differentiation genes but inhibited proinflammatory genes. Conversely, DRAIR knockdown attenuated antiinflammatory genes, promoted inflammatory responses, and inhibited phagocytosis. DRAIR regulated target gene expression through interaction with chromatin, as well as inhibition of the repressive epigenetic mark H3K9me2 and its corresponding methyltransferase G9a. Mouse orthologous Drair and Cpeb2 were also downregulated in peritoneal macrophages from T2D db/db mice, and Drair knockdown in nondiabetic mice enhanced proinflammatory genes in macrophages. Thus, DRAIR modulates the inflammatory phenotype of monocytes/macrophages via epigenetic mechanisms, and its downregulation in T2D may promote chronic inflammation. Augmentation of endogenous lncRNAs like DRAIR could serve as novel antiinflammatory therapies for diabetic complications.


Marpadga A. Reddy, Vishnu Amaram, Sadhan Das, Vinay Singh Tanwar, Rituparna Ganguly, Mei Wang, Linda Lanting, Lingxiao Zhang, Maryam Abdollahi, Zhuo Chen, Xiwei Wu, Sridevi Devaraj, Rama Natarajan


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