The role of microRNAs in neurobiology and pathophysiology of the hippocampus

Front Mol Neurosci. 2023 Sep 4:16:1226413. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2023.1226413. eCollection 2023.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding and well-conserved RNAs that are linked to many aspects of development and disorders. MicroRNAs control the expression of genes related to different biological processes and play a prominent role in the harmonious expression of many genes. During neural development of the central nervous system, miRNAs are regulated in time and space. In the mature brain, the dynamic expression of miRNAs continues, highlighting their functional importance in neurons. The hippocampus, as one of the crucial brain structures, is a key component of major functional connections in brain. Gene expression abnormalities in the hippocampus lead to disturbance in neurogenesis, neural maturation and synaptic formation. These disturbances are at the root of several neurological disorders and behavioral deficits, including Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and schizophrenia. There is strong evidence that abnormalities in miRNAs are contributed in neurodegenerative mechanisms in the hippocampus through imbalanced activity of ion channels, neuronal excitability, synaptic plasticity and neuronal apoptosis. Some miRNAs affect oxidative stress, inflammation, neural differentiation, migration and neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Furthermore, major signaling cascades in neurodegeneration, such as NF-Kβ signaling, PI3/Akt signaling and Notch pathway, are closely modulated by miRNAs. These observations, suggest that microRNAs are significant regulators in the complicated network of gene regulation in the hippocampus. In the current review, we focus on the miRNA functional role in the progression of normal development and neurogenesis of the hippocampus. We also consider how miRNAs in the hippocampus are crucial for gene expression mechanisms in pathophysiological pathways.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; epilepsy; hippocampus; microRNA; neural development; neurogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review