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Reinhardt, A., Feuillette, S., Cassar, M., Callens, C., Thomassin, H., Birman, S., Lecourtois, M., Antoniewski, C., Tricoire, H. (2012). Lack of miRNA Misregulation at Early Pathological Stages in Drosophila Neurodegenerative Disease Models.  Front. Genet. 3(): 226.
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Research paper

Late onset neurodegenerative diseases represent a major public health concern as the population in many countries ages. Both frequent diseases such as Alzheimer disease (AD, 14% incidence for 80-84 year-old Europeans) or Parkinson disease (PD, 1.4% prevalence for >55 years old) share, with other low-incidence neurodegenerative pathologies such as spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs, 0.01% prevalence) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD, 0.02% prevalence), a lack of efficient treatment in spite of important research efforts. Besides significant progress, studies with animal models have revealed unexpected complexities in the degenerative process, emphasizing a need to better understand the underlying pathological mechanisms. Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small regulatory non-coding RNAs, have been implicated in some neurodegenerative diseases. The current data supporting a role of miRNAs in PD, tauopathies, dominant ataxias, and FTLD will first be discussed to emphasize the different levels of the pathological processes which may be affected by miRNAs. To investigate a potential involvement of miRNA dysregulation in the early stages of these neurodegenerative diseases we have used Drosophila models for seven diseases (PD, 3 FTLD, 3 dominant ataxias) that recapitulate many features of the human diseases. We performed deep sequencing of head small RNAs after 3 days of pathological protein expression in the fly head neurons. We found no evidence for a statistically significant difference in miRNA expression in this early stage of the pathological process. In addition, we could not identify small non-coding CAG repeat RNAs (sCAG) in polyQ disease models. Thus our data suggest that transcriptional deregulation of miRNAs or sCAG is unlikely to play a significant role in the initial stages of neurodegenerative diseases.

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PMC3483601 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Front. Genet.
    Frontiers in genetics
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