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Dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) is involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). Hitherto, sample sizes from differential miRNA expression studies in AD are exceedingly small aggravating any biological inference. To overcome this limitation, we investigated six candidate miRNAs in a large collection of brain samples. Brain tissue was derived from superior temporal gyrus (STG) and entorhinal cortex (EC) from 99 AD patients and 91 controls. MiRNA expression was examined by qPCR (STG) or small RNA sequencing (EC). Brain region-dependent differential miRNA expression was investigated in a transgenic AD mouse model using qPCR and FISH. Total RNA sequencing was used to assess differential expression of miRNA target genes. MiR-129-5p, miR-132-5p, and miR-138-5p were significantly downregulated in AD vs. controls both in STG and EC, while miR-125b-5p and miR-501-3p showed no evidence for differential expression in this dataset. In addition, miR-195-5p was significantly upregulated in EC but not STG in AD patients. The brain region-specific pattern of miR-195-5p expression was corroborated in vivo in transgenic AD mice. Total RNA sequencing identified several novel and functionally interesting target genes of these miRNAs involved in synaptic transmission (GABRB1), the immune-system response (HCFC2) or AD-associated differential methylation (SLC16A3). Using two different methods (qPCR and small RNA-seq) in two separate brain regions in 190 individuals we more than doubled the available sample size for most miRNAs tested. Differential gene expression analyses confirm the likely involvement of miR-129-5p, miR-132-5p, miR-138-5p, and miR-195-5p in AD pathogenesis and highlight several novel potentially relevant target mRNAs.

Original publication




Journal article


Transl Psychiatry

Publication Date





Alzheimer Disease, Animals, Brain, Gene Expression Profiling, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, MicroRNAs, Sequence Analysis, RNA