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Novel neuroprotective targets and biomarkers for bipolar disorder (BD): a microRNA approach

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 — Poster Session IV

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Natcher Conference Center




  • J Hunsberger
  • E Fessler
  • F Chibane
  • Y Leng
  • A Elkahloun
  • D Chuang


There is critical need to develop more effective therapies to treat Bipolar Disorder (BD) and identify peripheral biomarkers to diagnose this devastating psychiatric condition. To this end, we are investigating the role of small non-coding RNAs called microRNAs that can silence ~75% of genes contained in the human genome. These master regulators have been implicated in various mechanisms including neuronal protection, synaptic plasticity, and neurogenesis in addition to dysregulation in numerous CNS diseases including BD. Our earlier published studies have identified microRNAs regulated by mood stabilizers in the rodent hippocampus. We are interested in identifying microRNAs regulated by mood stabilizers that may have neuroprotective function. Using an established primary culture glutamate excitotoxicity model we have profiled microRNAs that may contribute to some of the neuroprotective effects of mood stabilizers. We are verifying the function of these microRNAs using transfection methods in our neuronal model. In addition to this work, we are investigating the promise for microRNAs as biomarkers for BD. This work is on-going and consists of both pre-clinical and clinical studies that together we expect will identify microRNA signatures for BD and lithium response in both the periphery and CNS.

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