A novel miR-99b-5p-Zbp1 pathway in microglia contributes to the pathogenesis of schizophrenia


Kaurani L, Islam MR, Heilbronner U, Krüger DM, Zhou J, Methi A, Strauss J, Pradhan R, Burkhardt S, Pena T, Erlebach L, Bühler A, Budde M, Senner F, Oraki Kohshour M, Schulte EC, Schmauß M, Reininghaus EZ, Juckel G, Kronenberg-Versteeg D, Delalle I, Odoardi F, Flügel A, Schulze TG, Falkai P, Sananbenesi F, Fischer A




bioRxiv 2023.03.21.533602.


Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder that is still not readily treatable. Pharmaceutical advances in the treatment of schizophrenia have mainly focused on the protein coding part of the human genome. However, the vast majority of the human transcriptome consists of non-coding RNAs. MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that control the transcriptome at the systems level. In the present study we analyzed the microRNAome in blood and postmortem brains of controls and schizophrenia patients and found that miR-99b-5p was downregulated in both the prefrontal cortex and blood of patients. At the mechanistic level we show that inhibition of miR-99b-5p leads to schizophrenia-like phenotypes in mice and induced inflammatory processes in microglia linked to synaptic pruning. The miR-99b-5p-mediated inflammatory response in microglia depended on Z-DNA binding protein 1 (Zbp1) which we identified as a novel miR-99b-5p target. Antisense oligos (ASOs) against Zbp1 ameliorated the pathological phenotypes caused by miR-99b-5p inhibition. In conclusion, we report a novel miR-99b-5p-Zbp1 pathway in microglia that contributes to the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Our data suggest that strategies to increase the levels of miR-99b-5p or inhibit Zbp1 could become a novel therapeutic strategy.