Fumihiro Higuchi 1 , Shusaku Uchida 2 , Hirotaka Yamagata 1 , Naoko Abe-Higuchi 3 , Teruyuki Hobara 3 , Kumiko Hara 3 , Ayumi Kobayashi 3 , Tatsushi Shintaku 3 , Yukihiro Itoh 4 , Takayoshi Suzuki 4 , Yoshifumi Watanabe 3
Jul 06 2016
Chronic stress-induced aberrant gene expression in the brain and subsequent dysfunctional neuronal plasticity have been implicated in the etiology and pathophysiology of mood disorders. In this study, we examined whether altered expression of small, regulatory, noncoding microRNAs (miRNAs) contributes to the depression-like behaviors and aberrant neuronal plasticity associated with chronic stress. Mice exposed to chronic ultra-mild stress (CUMS) exhibited increased depression-like behaviors and reduced hippocampal expression of the brain-enriched miRNA-124 (miR-124). Aberrant behaviors and dysregulated miR-124 expression were blocked by chronic treatment with an antidepressant drug. The depression-like behaviors are likely not conferred directly by miR-124 downregulation because neither viral-mediated hippocampal overexpression nor intrahippocampal infusion of an miR-124 inhibitor affected depression-like behaviors in nonstressed mice. However, viral-mediated miR-124 overexpression in hippocampal neurons conferred behavioral resilience to CUMS, whereas inhibition of miR-124 led to greater behavioral susceptibility to a milder stress paradigm. Moreover, we identified histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4), HDAC5, and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) as targets for miR-124 and found that intrahippocampal infusion of a selective HDAC4/5 inhibitor or GSK3 inhibitor had antidepressant-like actions on behavior. We propose that miR-124-mediated posttranscriptional controls of HDAC4/5 and GSK3β expressions in the hippocampus have pivotal roles in susceptibility/resilience to chronic stress.