Molecular adaptations in the striatum mediated by dopamine (DA) denervation and/or levodopa (L-dopa) treatments have been implicated in the motor deficits found in Parkinson's disease (PD). Alterations in inflammatory response mechanisms and glutamatergic neurotransmission are reported to play important roles in mediating these changes. However, the mechanisms mediating the molecular adaptations in the striatum are not well understood. Small non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) influence numerous biological processes including the development and maintenance of striatal neurons by regulating gene expression post-transcriptionally. To investigate miRNA function in human PD striatum, we examined the global expression of miRNAs in postmortem putamen (putamen along with caudate forms the striatum) tissues obtained from PD patients and neurologically normal controls using Nanostring miRNA assays. We found that 6 miRNAs were significantly (p≤0.05) upregulated and 7 miRNAs were downregulated in PD putamen when compared with control. The differential expression (DE) of the 4 highest scoring miRNAs was further confirmed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Ingenuity pathway analysis demonstrated that these miRNAs are enriched in the processes of inflammatory responses. We found that the expression of DE miRNAs in PD putamen negatively correlates with the expression of gene transcripts implicated in inflammatory response with p53 and NF-kB as central signaling molecules. Taken together, our results suggest that in PD striatum, the DE miRNAs are associated with the oxidative stress pathway. This mechanism may contribute to the molecular adaptations and related motor complications found in PD.
Keywords: Inflammatory response; Neurotransmission; Parkinson’s disease; Putamen; microRNA.
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