Small noncoding RNAs play a critical role in regulating messenger RNA throughout brain development and when altered could have profound effects leading to disorders such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We assessed small noncoding RNAs, including microRNA and small nucleolar RNA, in superior temporal sulcus association cortex and primary auditory cortex in typical and ASD brains from early childhood to adulthood. Typical small noncoding RNA expression profiles were less distinct in ASD, both between regions and changes with age. Typical micro-RNA coexpression associations were absent in ASD brains. miR-132, miR-103, and miR-320 micro-RNAs were dysregulated in ASD and have previously been associated with autism spectrum disorders. These diminished region- and age-related micro-RNA expression profiles are in line with previously reported findings of attenuated messenger RNA and long noncoding RNA in ASD brain. This study demonstrates alterations in superior temporal sulcus in ASD, a region implicated in social impairment, and is the first to demonstrate molecular alterations in the primary auditory cortex.
Keywords: auditory cortex; autism; micro-RNA; small nucleolar RNA; superior temporal sulcus.
© The Author(s) 2015.