The role of microRNAs in depression
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a psychiatric disorder with increasing prevalence worldwide. It is a leading cause of disability and suicide, severely affecting physical and mental health. However, the study of depression remains at an exploratory stage in terms of diagnostics and treatment due to the complexity of its pathogenesis. MicroRNAs are endogenous short-stranded non-coding RNAs capable of binding to the 3’untranslated region of mRNAs. Because of their ability to repress translation process of genes and are found at high levels in brain tissues, investigation of their role in depression has gradually increased recently. This article summarizes recent research progress on the relationship between microRNAs and depression. The microRNAs play a regulatory role in the pathophysiology of depression, involving dysregulation of monoamines, abnormalities in neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, hyperactivity of the HPA axis, and dysregulation of inflammatory responses. These microRNAs might provide new clue for the diagnosis and treatment of MDD, and the development of antidepressant drugs.