Impulsivity and comorbid traits: a multi-step approach for finding putative responsible microRNAs in the amygdala

A.Z. Pietrzykowski, S. Spijker

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Malfunction of synaptic plasticity in different brain regions, including the amygdala plays a role in impulse control deficits that are characteristics of several psychiatric disorders, such as ADHD, schizophrenia, depression and addiction. Previously, we discovered a locus for impulsivity (Impu1) containing the neuregulin 3 (Nrg3) gene, of which the level of expression determines levels of inhibitory control. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are potent regulators of gene expression, and have recently emerged as important factors contributing to the development of psychiatric disorders. However, their role in impulsivity, as well as control of Nrg3 expression or malfunction of the amygdala, is not well established. Here, we used the GeneNetwork database of BXD mice to search for correlated traits with impulsivity using an overrepresentation analysis to filter for biologically meaningful traits. We determined that inhibitory control was significantly correlated with expression of miR-190b, -28a, -340, -219a, and -491 in the amygdala, and that the overrepresented correlated traits showed a specific pattern of coregulation with these miRNAs. A bioinformatics analysis iDentified that miR-190b, by targeting an Nrg3-related network, could affect synaptic plasticity in the amygdala, targeting bot impulsive and compulsive traits. Moreover, miR-28a, -340, -219a, and possibly -491 could act on synaptic function by determining the balance between neuronal outgrowth and differentiation. We propose that these miRNAs are attractive candidates of regulation of amygdala synaptic plasticity, possibly during development but also in maintaining the impulsive phenotype. These results can help us to better understand mechanisms of synaptic dysregulation in psychiatric disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Article number389
Pages (from-to)389
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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