Cell Reports (Nov 2016)

Amygdalar MicroRNA-15a Is Essential for Coping with Chronic Stress

  • Naama Volk,
  • Julius C. Pape,
  • Mareen Engel,
  • Anthony S. Zannas,
  • Nadia Cattane,
  • Annamaria Cattaneo,
  • Elisabeth B. Binder,
  • Alon Chen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 17, no. 7
pp. 1882 – 1891


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MicroRNAs are important regulators of gene expression and associated with stress-related psychiatric disorders. Here, we report that exposing mice to chronic stress led to a specific increase in microRNA-15a levels in the amygdala-Ago2 complex and a concomitant reduction in the levels of its predicted target, FKBP51, which is implicated in stress-related psychiatric disorders. Reciprocally, mice expressing reduced levels of amygdalar microRNA-15a following exposure to chronic stress exhibited increased anxiety-like behaviors. In humans, pharmacological activation of the glucocorticoid receptor, as well as exposure to childhood trauma, was associated with increased microRNA-15a levels in peripheral blood. Taken together, our results support an important role for microRNA-15a in stress adaptation and the pathogenesis of stress-related psychopathologies.