MicroRNAs underlying memory deficits in neurodegenerative disorders

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Neurodegenerative disorders are defined by neuronal loss and often associated with dementia. Understanding the multifactorial nature of cognitive decline is of particular interest. Cell loss is certainly a possibility but also an early imbalance in the complex gene networks involved in learning and memory. The small (˜ 22 nt) non-coding microRNAs play a major role in gene expression regulation and have been linked to neuronal survival and cognition. Interestingly, changes in microRNA signatures are associated with neurodegenerative disorders. In this review, we explore the role of three microRNAs, namely miR-132, miR-124 and miR-34, which are dysregulated in major neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. Interestingly, these microRNAs have been associated with both memory impairment and neuronal survival, providing a potential common molecular mechanism contributing to dementia.

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