Antagonizing Increased miR-135a Levels at the Chronic Stage of Experimental TLE Reduces Spontaneous Recurrent Seizures


Vamshidhar R. VangoorCristina R. ReschkeKetharini SenthilkumarLieke L. van de HaarMarina de WitGiuliano GiulianiMark H. BroekhovenGareth MorrisTobias EngelGary P. BrennanRonan M. ConroyPeter C. van RijenPeter H. GosselaarStephanie SchorgeRoel Q.J. SchaapveldDavid C. HenshallPierre N.E. De Graan and R. Jeroen Pasterkamp

Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) is a chronic neurological disease characterized by recurrent seizures. The antiepileptic drugs currently available to treat mTLE are ineffective in one-third of patients and lack disease-modifying effects. miRNAs, a class of small noncoding RNAs which control gene expression at the post-transcriptional level, play a key role in the pathogenesis of mTLE and other epilepsies. Although manipulation of miRNAs at acute stages has been reported to reduce subsequent spontaneous seizures, it is uncertain whether targeting miRNAs at chronic stages of mTLE can also reduce seizures. Furthermore, the functional role and downstream targets of most epilepsy-associated miRNAs remain poorly understood. Here, we show that miR-135a is selectively upregulated within neurons in epileptic brain and report that targeting miR-135a in vivo using antagomirs after onset of spontaneous recurrent seizures can reduce seizure activity at the chronic stage of experimental mTLE in male mice. Further, by using an unbiased approach combining immunoprecipitation and RNA sequencing, we identify several novel neuronal targets of miR-135a, including Mef2a. Mef2 proteins are key regulators of excitatory synapse density. Mef2a and miR-135a show reciprocal expression regulation in human (of both sexes) and experimental TLE, and miR-135a regulates dendritic spine number and type through Mef2. Together, our data show that miR-135a is target for reducing seizure activity in chronic epilepsy, and that deregulation of miR-135a in epilepsy may alter Mef2a expression and thereby affect synaptic function and plasticity.


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