The role of microRNAs in synaptic plasticity, major affective disorders and suicidal behavior

Academic Article


  • Major affective disorders are common widespread conditions associated with multiple psychosocial impairments and suicidal risk in the general population. At least 3-4% of all depressive individuals die by suicide. At a molecular level, affective disorders and suicidal behavior are recently associated with disturbances in structural and synaptic plasticity. A recent hypothesis suggested that small non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), in particular microRNAs (miRNAs), play a critical role in the translational regulation at the synapse. We performed a selective overview of the current literature on miRNAs putative subcellular localization and sites of action in mature neurons analyzing their role in neurogenesis, synaptic plasticity, pathological stress changes, major affective disorders and suicidal behavior. miRNAs have played a fundamental role in the evolution of brain functions. The perturbation of some intracellular mechanisms as well as impaired assembly, localization, and translational regulation of specific RNA binding proteins may affect learning and memory, presumably contributing to the pathogenesis of major affective disorders and perhaps suicidal behavior. Also, miRNA dys-regulation has also been linked to several neuropsychiatric diseases. However, further evidence are needed in order to directly clarify the role of miRNAs in major affective disorders and suicidal behavior. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd and the Japan Neuroscience Society.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Serafini G; Pompili M; Innamorati M; Giordano G; Montebovi F; Sher L; Dwivedi Y; Girardi P
  • Start Page

  • 179
  • End Page

  • 190
  • Volume

  • 73
  • Issue

  • 3