Expression of micrornas and other small RNAs in prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depressed subjects

Academic Article


  • Because of the role played by miRNAs in post-transcriptional regulation of an array of genes, their impact in neuropsychiatric disease pathophysiology has increasingly been evident. In the present study, we assessed microRNA expression in prefrontal cortex (Brodmann area 10) of a well-characterized cohort of major depressed, bipolar, and schizophrenia subjects (obtained from Stanley Neuropathology Consortium; n = 15 in each group), using high throughput RT-PCR plates. Discrete miRNA alterations were observed in all disorders, as well as in suicide subjects (pooled across diagnostic categories) compared to all non-suicide subjects. The changes in the schizophrenia group were partially similar to those in the bipolar group, but distinct from changes in depression and suicide. Intriguingly, those miRNAs which were down-regulated in the schizophrenia group tended to be synaptically enriched, whereas up-regulated miRNAs tended not to be. To follow this up, we purified synaptosomes from pooled samples of the schizophrenia vs. control groups and subjected them to Illumina deep sequencing. There was a significant loss of small RNA expression in schizophrenia synaptosomes only for certain sequence lengths within the miRNA range. Moreover, 73 miRNAs were significantly down-regulated whereas only one was up-regulated. Strikingly, across all expressed miRNAs in synaptosomes, there was a significant inverse correlation between the fold-change of a given miRNA seen in schizophrenia and its synaptic enrichment ratio observed in controls. Thus, synaptic miRNAs tended to be down-regulated in schizophrenia, and the more highly synaptically enriched miRNAs tended to show greater down-regulation. These findings point to some deficit in miRNA biogenesis, transport, processing or turnover in schizophrenia that is selective for the synaptic compartment. A novel class of ncRNA-derived small RNAs, shown to be strongly induced during an early phase of learning in mouse, is also expressed in man, and at least one representative (SNORD85) was strongly down-regulated in schizophrenia synaptosomes. © 2014 Smalheiser et al.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • PLoS One  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Smalheiser NR; Lugli G; Zhang H; Rizavi H; Cook EH; Dwivedi Y
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 1