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Papers of the Week

2022 Mar 09

Mol Psychiatry

Differential expression of MicroRNAs in Alzheimer’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.


Yoon S, Kim S E, Ko Y, Jeong G H, Lee K H, Lee J H, Solmi M, Jacob L, Smith L, Stickley A, Carvalho AF, Dragioti E, Kronbichler A, Koyanagi A, Hong S H, Thompson T, Oh H, de Pablo G S, Radua J, Shin J I, et al.
Mol Psychiatry. 2022 Mar 09.
PMID: 35264731.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) results in progressive cognitive decline owing to the accumulation of amyloid plaques and hyperphosphorylated tau. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have attracted attention as a putative diagnostic and therapeutic target for neurodegenerative diseases. However, existing meta-analyses on AD and its association with miRNAs have produced inconsistent results. The primary objective of this study is to evaluate the magnitude and consistency of differences in miRNA levels between AD patients, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients and healthy controls (HC). Articles investigating miRNA levels in blood, brain tissue, or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of AD and MCI patients versus HC were systematically searched in PubMed/Medline from inception to February 16, 2021. Fixed- and random-effects meta-analyses were complemented with the I statistic to measure the heterogeneity, assessment of publication bias, sensitivity subgroup analyses (AD severity, brain region, post-mortem versus ante-mortem specimen for CSF and type of analysis used to quantify miRNA) and functional enrichment pathway analysis. Of the 1512 miRNAs included in 61 articles, 425 meta-analyses were performed on 334 miRNAs. Fifty-six miRNAs were significantly upregulated (n = 40) or downregulated (n = 16) in AD versus HC and all five miRNAs were significantly upregulated in MCI versus HC. Functional enrichment analysis confirmed that pathways related to apoptosis, immune response and inflammation were statistically enriched with upregulated pathways in participants with AD relative to HC. This study confirms that miRNAs' expression is altered in AD and MCI compared to HC. These findings open new diagnostic and therapeutic perspectives for this disorder.