Elevation of Il6 is associated with disturbed let-7 biogenesis in a genetic model of depression

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    Elevation of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6 has been implicated in depression; however, the mechanisms remain elusive. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that inhibit gene expression post-transcriptionally. The lethal-7 (let-7) miRNA family was suggested to be involved in the inflammation process and IL-6 was shown to be one of its targets. In the present study, we report elevation of Il6 in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of a genetic rat model of depression, the Flinders Sensitive Line (FSL) compared to the control Flinders Resistant Line. This elevation was associated with an overexpression of LIN28B and downregulation of let-7 miRNAs, the former an RNA-binding protein that selectively represses let-7 synthesis. Also DROSHA, a key enzyme in miRNA biogenesis was downregulated in FSL. Running was previously shown to have an antidepressant-like effect in the FSL rat. We found that running reduced Il6 levels and selectively increased let-7i and miR-98 expression in the PFC of FSL, although there were no differences in LIN28B and DROSHA expression. Pri-let-7i was upregulated in the running FSL group, which associated with increased histone H4 acetylation. In conclusion, the disturbance of let-7 family biogenesis may underlie increased proinflammatory markers in the depressed FSL rats while physical activity could reduce their expression, possibly through regulating primary miRNA expression via epigenetic mechanisms