Alzheimer's disease (AD) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are complex and progressive inflammatory degenerations of the human neocortex and retina. Recent molecular, genetic and epigenetic evidence indicate that at least 4 micro RNAs (miRNAs) - including the NF-кB-regulated miRNA-9, miRNA-125b, miRNA-146a and miRNA-155 - are progressively up-regulated in both AD and AMD. This quartet of up-regulated miRNAs in turn down-regulate a small brain- and retinal-cell-relevant family of target mRNAs, including that encoding complement factor H (CFH), a major negative regulator of the innate immune and inflammatory response. Together miRNA-146a and miRNA-155 recognize an overlapping miRNA regulatory control (MiRC) region in the CFH 3'-untranslated region (3'- UTR; 5'-TTTAGTATTAA-3') to which either of these miRNAs may interact. Progressive, pathogenic increases in specific miRNA binding to the entire 232 nucleotide CFH 3'-UTR appears to be a major regulator of CFH expression down-regulation, and the inflammatory pathology that characterizes both AMD and AD. The data presented in this report provides evidence that up-regulation of brain- and retinal- abundant miRNAs, including miRNA-9, miRNA-125b, miRNA-146a and miRNA-155, are common to the pathogenetic mechanism of CFH deficiency that drives inflammatory neurodegeneration, and for the first time indicates multiple, independent miRNA-mediated regulation of the CFH mRNA 3'-UTR.
Keywords: Brain; complement factor H; evolution; miRNA regulatory control (MiRC) region; miRNA-125b; miRNA-146a; miRNA-155; miRNA-9; micro RNA; retina; small non-coding RNA.