Findings could lead to a new therapeutic target
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a prevalent and debilitating illness, and is one of the leading causes of premature death worldwide. While various neurobiological factors have been associated with this complex disorder, the underlying cause is poorly understood. In an effort to better understand molecular pathways that play a role in this disorder, collaborating researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute at McGill University analyzed important regulatory genes called microRNAs (miRNAs) in the brains of MDD patients. They found out that the microRNA miR-323a plays an important role in the development of MDD and opens up possibility to explore it as a therapeutic target in mood disorders. The results of this translational study were recently published in Molecular Psychiatry.