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Review
. 2018 Jun;233:110-116.
doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2017.09.025. Epub 2017 Sep 23.

The miRNome of Bipolar Disorder

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Review

The miRNome of Bipolar Disorder

Gabriel R Fries et al. J Affect Disord. .

Abstract

Background: Epigenetic mechanisms have been suggested to play a key role in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder (BD), among which microRNAs (miRNAs) may be of particular significance according to recent studies. We aimed to summarize miRNA studies in BD to identify consistent findings, limitations, and future directions of this emerging field.

Methods: We performed a comprehensive search on PUBMED and Medline for studies investigating an association between BD and miRNAs. The included studies report miRNA alterations in postmortem brain tissues and in the periphery, cell culture and preclinical findings, genetic associations, and the effects of medications.

Results: Several studies report changes in miRNA expression levels in postmortem brain and in the periphery of patients, although most of the results so far have not been replicated and are not concordant between different populations. Genetic studies also suggest that miRNA genes are located within susceptibility loci of BD, and also a putative role of miRNAs in modulating genes previously shown to confer risk of BD.

Limitations: We did not perform a systematic review of the literature, and miRNAs represent only one facet of the plethora of epigenetic mechanisms that might be involved in BD's pathophysiology.

Conclusions: miRNA findings in BD significantly vary between studies, but are consistent to suggest a key role for these molecules in BD's pathophysiology and treatment, particularly miR-34a and miR-137. Accordingly, miRNA might represent important biomarkers of illness to be used in the clinical settings, and potentially also for the development of novel therapeutics for BD in the near future.

Keywords: Bipolar disorder; Depression; Epigenetics; Mania; MicroRNA; Transcriptome.

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