Elevation of Il6 is associated with disturbed let-7 biogenesis in a genetic model of depression

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  • Y B Wei
  • ,
  • J J Liu
  • ,
  • J C Villaescusa
  • ,
  • E Åberg
  • ,
  • S Brené
  • ,
  • G Wegener
  • A A Mathé
  • ,
  • C Lavebratt

Elevation of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6 has been implicated in depression; however, the mechanisms remain elusive. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that inhibit gene expression post-transcriptionally. The lethal-7 (let-7) miRNA family was suggested to be involved in the inflammation process and IL-6 was shown to be one of its targets. In the present study, we report elevation of Il6 in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of a genetic rat model of depression, the Flinders Sensitive Line (FSL) compared to the control Flinders Resistant Line. This elevation was associated with an overexpression of LIN28B and downregulation of let-7 miRNAs, the former an RNA-binding protein that selectively represses let-7 synthesis. Also DROSHA, a key enzyme in miRNA biogenesis was downregulated in FSL. Running was previously shown to have an antidepressant-like effect in the FSL rat. We found that running reduced Il6 levels and selectively increased let-7i and miR-98 expression in the PFC of FSL, although there were no differences in LIN28B and DROSHA expression. Pri-let-7i was upregulated in the running FSL group, which associated with increased histone H4 acetylation. In conclusion, the disturbance of let-7 family biogenesis may underlie increased proinflammatory markers in the depressed FSL rats while physical activity could reduce their expression, possibly through regulating primary miRNA expression via epigenetic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Pages (from-to)e869
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2016

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