Hsa-miR-34b is a plasma-stable microRNA that is elevated in pre-manifest Huntington's disease

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Huntington's disease (HD) is a devastating, neurodegenerative condition, which lacks effective treatment. Normal Huntingtin (HTT) and mutant Huntingtin (mHTT) are expressed in multiple tissues and can alter transcription of microRNAs (miRs). Importantly, miRs are present in a bio-stable form in human peripheral blood plasma and have recently been shown to be useful biomarkers in other diseases. We therefore sought to identify potential miR biomarkers of HD that are present in, and have functional consequences for, neuronal and non-neuronal tissues. In a cell line over-expressing mHTT-Exon-1, miR microarray analysis was used to identify candidate miRs. We then examined their presence and bio-stability in control and HD plasma. We found that miR-34b is significantly elevated in response to mHTT-Exon-1, and its blockade alters the toxicity of mHTT-Exon-1 in vitro. We also show that miR-34b is detectable in plasma from small input volumes and is insensitive to freeze-thaw-induced RNA degradation. Interestingly, miR-34b is significantly elevated in plasma from HD gene carriers prior to symptom onset. This is the first study suggesting that plasma miRs might be used as biomarkers for HD.


  • Philip Gaughwin
  • Maciej Ciesla
  • Nayana Lahiri
  • Sarah J. Tabrizi
  • Patrik Brundin
  • Maria Björkqvist
Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Medicinsk genetik
Sidor (från-till)2225-2237
TidskriftHuman Molecular Genetics
StatusPublished - 2011
Peer review utfördJa