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Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 726–739

First Online: 13 November 2012Received: 07 September 2012Accepted: 29 October 2012


Epigenetic and regulatory elements provide an additional layer of complexity to the heterogeneity of anxiety disorders. MicroRNAs miRNAs are a class of small, noncoding RNAs that have recently drawn interest as epigenetic modulators of gene expression in psychiatric disorders. miRNAs elicit their effects by binding to target messenger RNAs mRNAs and hindering translation or accelerating degradation. Considering their role in neuronal differentiation and synaptic plasticity, miRNAs have opened up new investigative avenues in the aetiology and treatment of anxiety disorders. In this review, we provide a thorough analysis of miRNAs, their targets and their functions in the central nervous system CNS, focusing on their role in anxiety disorders. The involvement of miRNAs in CNS functions such as neurogenesis, neurite outgrowth, synaptogenesis and synaptic and neural plasticity and their intricate regulatory role under stressful conditions strongly support their importance in the aetiology of anxiety disorders. Furthermore, miRNAs could provide new avenues for the development of therapeutic targets in anxiety disorders.

KeywordsMicroRNAs Anxiety disorders Panic disorder Posttranscriptional regulation  Download fulltext PDF

Autor: Stefanie Malan-Müller - Sîan Megan Joanna Hemmings - Soraya Seedat


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