MiR-431 attenuates synaptic plasticity and memory deficits in APPswe/PS1dE9 mice

JCI Insight. 2023 Jun 22;8(12):e166270. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.166270.


Synaptic plasticity impairment plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), and emerging evidence has shown that microRNAs (miRs) are alternative biomarkers and therapeutic targets for synaptic dysfunctions in AD. In this study, we found that the level of miR-431 was downregulated in the plasma of patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment and AD. In addition, it was decreased in the hippocampus and plasma of APPswe/PS1dE9 (APP/PS1) mice. Lentivirus-mediated miR-431 overexpression in the hippocampus CA1 ameliorated synaptic plasticity and memory deficits of APP/PS1 mice, while it did not affect amyloid-β levels. Smad4 was identified as a target of miR-431, and Smad4 knockdown modulated the expression of synaptic proteins, including SAP102, and protected against synaptic plasticity and memory dysfunctions in APP/PS1 mice. Furthermore, Smad4 overexpression reversed the protective effects of miR-431, indicating that miR-431 attenuated synaptic impairment at least partially by Smad4 inhibition. Thus, these results indicated that miR-431/Smad4 might be a potential therapeutic target for AD treatment.

Keywords: Aging; Neurodegeneration; Therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / drug therapy
  • Animals
  • Memory Disorders / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics


  • MicroRNAs
  • MIRN431 microRNA, mouse