Identification of a miRNAs signature associated with exposure to stress early in life and enhanced vulnerability for schizophrenia: New insights for the key role of miR-125b-1-3p in neurodevelopmental processes

Nadia Cattane, Cristina Mora, Nicola Lopizzo, Alessandra Borsini, Carlo Maj, Laura Pedrini, Roberta Rossi, Marco Andrea Riva, Carmine Maria Pariante, Annamaria Cattaneo

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Abstract

Epidemiological and clinical studies have provided evidence for a role of both genetic and environmental factors, such as stressful experiences early in life, in the pathogenesis of Schizophrenia (SZ) and microRNAs (miRNAs) have been suggested to play a key role in the interplay between the environment and our genome.

In this study, we conducted a miRNOme analysis in different samples (blood of adult subjects exposed to childhood trauma, brain (hippocampus) of rats exposed to prenatal stress and human hippocampal progenitor cells treated with cortisol) and we identified miR-125b-1-3p as a down-regulated miRNA in all the three datasets. Interestingly, a significant down-regulation was observed also in SZ patients exposed to childhood trauma. To investigate the biological systems targeted by miR-125b-1-3p and also involved in the effects of stress, we combined the list of biological pathways modulated by predicted and validated target genes of miR-125b-1-3p, with the biological systems significantly regulated by cortisol in the in vitro model. We found, as common pathways, the CXCR4 signaling, the G-alpha signaling, and the P2Y Purigenic Receptor Signaling Pathway, which are all involved in neurodevelopmental processes.

Our data, obtained from the combining of miRNAs datasets across different tissues and species, identified miR-125b-1-3p as a key marker associated with the long-term effects of stress early in life and also with the enhanced vulnerability of developing SZ. The identification of such a miRNA biomarker could allow the early detection of vulnerable subjects for SZ and could provide the basis for the development of preventive therapeutic strategies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Early online date26 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Schizophrenia
  • Early life stress
  • Childhood trauma
  • miRNAs signature
  • miR-125b-1-3p
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Inflammation
  • CXCR4 signaling
  • G-alpha signaling
  • P2Y purigenic receptor signaling pathway

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