Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Chair of Metabolic Biochemistry

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miR-132, an experience-dependent microRNA, is essential for visual cortex plasticity

Nature Neuroscience 2011 Sep 4. [Epub ahead of print]

Authors/Editors: Mellios N
Sugihara H
Castro J
Banerjee A
Le C
Kumar A
Crawford B
Strathmann J
Tropea D
Levine SS
Sur M
Publication Date: 2011
Type of Publication: Journal Article


Using quantitative analyses, we identified microRNAs (miRNAs) that were abundantly expressed in visual cortex and that responded to dark rearing and/or monocular deprivation. The most substantially altered miRNA, miR-132, was rapidly upregulated after eye opening and was delayed by dark rearing.

In vivo inhibition of miR-132 in mice prevented ocular dominance plasticity in identified neurons following monocular deprivation and affected the maturation of dendritic spines, demonstrating its critical role in the plasticity of visual cortex circuits.

If the role of miR-132 in plasticity extends to other cortical areas, these findings may have important functional implications for schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease, where miR-132 downregulation has been reported previously (Kim AH et al, Schizophr. Res. 2010 and Cogswell JP et al, J. Alzheimers. Dis. 2008).

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