Analysis of global microRNA (miRNA) expression in postmortem cortical grey matter from the superior temporal gyrus, revealed significant up-regulation of miR-181b expression in schizophrenia. This finding was supported by quantitative real-time RT-PCR analysis of miRNA expression in a cohort of 21 matched pairs of schizophrenia and non-psychiatric controls. The implications of this finding are substantial, as this miRNA is predicted to regulate many target genes with potential significance to the development of schizophrenia. They include the calcium sensor gene visinin-like 1 (VSNL1) and the ionotropic AMPA glutamate receptor subunit (GRIA2), which were found to be down-regulated in the same cortical tissue from the schizophrenia group. Both of these genes were also suppressed in miR-181b transfected cells and shown to contain functional miR-181b miRNA recognition elements by reporter gene assay. This study suggests altered miRNA levels could be a significant factor in the dysregulation of cortical gene expression in schizophrenia.
Human Molecular Genetics Vol. 17, Issue 8, p. 1156-1168