Background: The brain is a major site of microRNA (miRNA) gene expression, but the spatial expression patterns of miRNAs within the brain have not yet been fully covered.
Methodology/principal findings: We have characterized the regional expression profiles of miRNAs in five distinct regions of the adult rat brain: amygdala, cerebellum, hippocampus, hypothalamus and substantia nigra. Microarray profiling uncovered 48 miRNAs displaying more than three-fold enrichment between two or more brain regions. Notably, we found reciprocal expression profiles for a subset of the miRNAs predominantly found (> ten times) in either the cerebellum (miR-206 and miR-497) or the forebrain regions (miR-132, miR-212, miR-221 and miR-222).
Conclusions/significance: The results indicate that some miRNAs could be important for area-specific functions in the brain. Our data, combined with previous studies in mice, provides additional guidance for future investigations of miRNA functions in the brain.