Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by progressive synaptic dysfunction, deterioration of neuronal transmission, and consequently neuronal death. Although there is no treatment for AD, exposure to enriched environment (EE) in mice, as well as physical and mental activity in human subjects have been shown to have a protective effect by slowing the disease’s progression and reducing AD-like cognitive impairment. However, the molecular mechanism of this mitigating effect is still not understood. One of the mechanisms that has recently been shown to be involved in neuronal degeneration is microRNAs (miRNAs) regulation, which act as a post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. miR-128 has been shown to be significantly altered in individuals with AD and in mice following exposure to EE. Here, we focused on elucidating the possible role of miR-128 in AD pathology and found that miR-128 regulates the expression of two proteins essential for synaptic transmission, SNAP-25, and synaptotagmin1 (Syt1). Clinically relevant, in 5xFAD mouse model for AD, this miRNA’s expression was found as downregulated, resembling the alteration found in the hippocampi of individuals with AD. Interestingly, exposing WT mice to EE also resulted in downregulation of miR-128 expression levels, although EE and AD conditions demonstrate opposing effects on neuronal functioning and synaptic plasticity. We also found that miR-128 expression downregulation in primary hippocampal cultures from 5xFAD mice results in increased neuronal network activity and neuronal excitability. Altogether, our findings place miR-128 as a synaptic player that may contribute to synaptic functioning and plasticity through regulation of synaptic protein expression and function.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Neuronal activity