microRNA-146a modulates behavioural activity, neuroinflammation, and oxidative stress in adult mice

Zhao, Wenting, Spiers, Jereme G ORCID: 0000-0001-5872-8983, Vassileff, Natasha ORCID: 0000-0001-6554-4496, Khadka, Arun, Jaehne, Emily J, van den Buuse, Maarten ORCID: 0000-0002-7555-3799 and Hill, Andrew F ORCID: 0000-0001-5581-2354 (2023) microRNA-146a modulates behavioural activity, neuroinflammation, and oxidative stress in adult mice. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, 124. ISSN 1044-7431


Small non-coding miRNA act as key regulators of several physiological processes due to their ability to interact with numerous target mRNA within a network. Whilst several miRNA can act in concert to regulate target mRNA expression, miR-146a has emerged as a critical modulator of inflammation by targeting key upstream signalling proteins of the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) pathway and reductions in this miRNA have been observed in several neurological and neurodegenerative disorders. However, a targeted assessment of behaviour and neural tissues following the loss of miR-146a has not been documented. In this study, we examined the behavioural and neuroinflammatory phenotype of mice lacking miR-146a to determine the role of this miRNA in neurological function. Adult miR-146a−/− mice displayed no overt developmental phenotype with the exception of enlarged spleens. Behavioural testing revealed a mild but significant reduction in exploratory locomotor activity and increase in anxiety-like behaviour, with no changes in short-term spatial memory, fear conditioning, or sensorimotor gating. In the brain, the lack of miR-146a resulted in a significant compensatory miR-155 expression with no significant changes in expression of the target Interleukin 1 Receptor Associated Kinase (Irak) gene family. Despite these effects on upstream NF-κB mediators, downstream expression of cytokine and chemokine messengers was significantly elevated in miR-146a−/− mice compared to wild-type controls. Moreover, this increase in inflammatory cytokines was observed alongside an induction of oxidative stress, driven in part by nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH)-oxidase, and included reduced thiol antioxidant concentrations and increased oxidised protein carbonyl concentrations. In female miR-146a mice, this increase in oxidative stress resulted in an increased expression of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1). Together, this suggests miR-146a plays a key role in regulating inflammation even in the absence of inflammatory stimuli and reduced levels of this miRNA have the capacity to induce limited behavioural effects whilst exacerbating both inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/46663
DOI 10.1016/j.mcn.2023.103820
Official URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/...
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3209 Neurosciences
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords neuroinflammation, oxidative stress, mice, adult mice, locomotor activity, brain tissue
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