Blood microRNA changes in depressed patients during antidepressant treatment.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are potent modulators of protein expression that play key roles in brain pathways regulating neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity. These small RNAs may be critical for the pathophysiology of mental disorders and may influence the effectiveness of psychotropic drugs. To investigate the possible involvement of miRNAs in the mechanism of action of antidepressants (AD), we conducted a whole-miRNome quantitative analysis with qRT-PCR of the changes in the blood of 10 depressed subjects after 12 weeks of treatment with escitalopram. Thirty miRNAs were differentially expressed after the AD treatment: 28 miRNAs were up-regulated, and 2 miRNAs were strongly down-regulated. miRNA target gene prediction and functional annotation analysis showed that there was a significant enrichment in several pathways associated with neuronal brain function (such as neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction, axon guidance, long-term potentiation and depression), supporting the hypothesis that the differentially regulated miRNAs may be involved in the AD mechanism. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. and ECNP. All rights reserved.