microRNA and mRNA profiles in ventral tegmental area relevant to stress-induced depression and resilience


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Abstract

Chronic stress with lack of reward presumably may impair brain reward circuit, leading to major depressive disorder (MDD). Most individuals experiencing chronic stress do not suffer from MDD, i.e., resilience, implying the presence of endogenous anti-depression in the brain. Molecular mechanisms underlying stress-induced depression versus resilience were investigated. Mice were treated by chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) for four weeks. Their mood state was assessed by behavioral tasks, such as sucrose preference, Y-maze and forced swimming testes. To reveal comprehensive molecular profiles of major depression versus resilience, mRNA and microRNA profiles were analyzed by high-throughput sequencing in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) harvested from control, CUMS-susceptible and CUMS-resilience mice. In data analyses of control versus CUMS-susceptible mice as well as control versus CUMS-resilience mice, 1.5 fold ratio in reads per kilo-base per million reads was set as the threshold to judge the involvement of mRNAs and microRNAs in the CUMS, depression or resilience. The downregulation of synaptic vesicle cycle, neurotrophin, GABAergic synapse and morphine addiction as well as the upregulation of transmitter release, calcium signal and cAMP-dependent response element binding are associated to CUMS-susceptibility. The downregulation of tyrosine metabolism and protein process in endoplasmic reticulum as well as the upregulation of amino acid biosynthesis, neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction and dopaminergic synapse are associated to CUMS-resilience. Therefore, the impairment of neurons and GABA/dopaminergic synapses in the VTA is associated with major depression. The upregulation of these entities is associated with resilience. Consistent results obtained from analyzing mRNAs and microRNAs as well as using different approaches strengthen our finding and conclusion.HighlightsMany individuals do not suffer from stress-induced depression, implying endogenous anti-depression in the brain.Neurotrophin, synaptic vesicle cycle, GABAergic synapse and morphine addiction are downregulated in CUMS-induced depression.Amino acid biosynthesis, neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction and dopaminergic synapse are upregulated in CUMS-resilience.The impairment of neurons and GABA/dopaminergic synapses in the VTA is associated with major depression.

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