Current antidepressant treatments to anxiety and depression remain inadequate, burdened by a significant percentage of misuse and drug side-effects, due to unclear mechanisms of actions of antidepressants. To better understand the regulatory roles of antidepressant fluoxetine-related drug reactions, a team of researchers from Cornell University and Huaqiao University investigated changes of expression levels of hippocampal microRNAs (miRNAs) using miRNA microarray technology after administration of fluoxetine in normal adult mice.

They found that 64 miRNAs showed significant changes between fluoxetine treatment and control groups by analyzing 626 mouse miRNAs. Many miRNAs in response to fluoxetine are involved in neural-related signaling pathways by analyzing miRNA-target gene pairs using the Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes (KEGG) and Gene Ontology (GO). Moreover, miRNAs with altered expression are mainly associated with the repression of the dopaminergic synapse signals, which may affect hippocampal function after fluoxetine treatment.

These results demonstrate that a number of miRNAs respond to antidepressants even in normal mice and may affect target gene expression, which supports the safety consideration of inappropriate treatment and off-label use of antidepressant drugs.


N Miao, J Jin, SN Kim, T Sun (2018) Hippocampal MicroRNAs Respond to Administration of Antidepressant Fluoxetine in Adult Mice Int. J. of Mol. Sci. doi: 10.3390/ijms19030671 [abstract]

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