Cause or Effect: Misregulation of microRNA Pathways in Neurodegeneration

Front Neurosci. 2012 Apr 9:6:48. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00048. eCollection 2012.


During normal aging or neurodegenerative diseases, neuronal survival and function depend on protein homeostasis, which is regulated by multiple mechanisms, including the microRNA (miRNA) pathway. In different cells types, the absence of Dicer, a key miRNA processing enzyme, leads to neurodegeneration through cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous mechanisms. Loss of certain miRNAs also causes neurodegeneration in some model organisms. On the other hand, miRNA expression is misregulated in patients with different neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, the miRNA pathway appears to be essential in the pathogenesis of several age-dependent neurodegenerative conditions; however, our understanding of the underlying mechanism remains rudimentary. The precise causal relationships between specific miRNAs and neurodegeneration in humans need to be further investigated.

Keywords: ALS; Alzheimer’s disease; C9ORF72; CHMP2B; FTD; TDP-43; microRNAs; neurodegeneration.