MicroRNAs are important regulators of immune responses. Here, we show miR-221 and miR-222 modulate the intestinal Th17 cell response. Expression of miR-221 and miR-222 was induced by proinflammatory cytokines and repressed by the cytokine TGF-β. Molecular targets of miR-221 and miR-222 included Maf and Il23r, and loss of miR-221 and miR-222 expression shifted the transcriptomic spectrum of intestinal Th17 cells to a proinflammatory signature. Although the loss of miR-221 and miR-222 was tolerated for maintaining intestinal Th17 cell homeostasis in healthy mice, Th17 cells lacking miR-221 and miR-222 expanded more efficiently in response to IL-23. Both global and T cell-specific deletion of miR-221 and miR-222 rendered mice prone to mucosal barrier damage. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that miR-221 and miR-222 are an integral part of intestinal Th17 cell response that are induced after IL-23 stimulation to constrain the magnitude of proinflammatory response.
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