The brain employs distinct circuitries to encode positive and negative valence stimuli, and dysfunctions of these neuronal circuits have a key role in the etiopathogenesis of many psychiatric disorders. The Dorsal Raphè Nucleus (DRN) is involved in various behaviors and drives the emotional response to rewarding and aversive experiences. Whether specific subpopulations of neurons within the DRN encode these behaviors with different valence is still unknown. Notably, microRNA expression in the mammalian brain is characterized by tissue and neuronal specificity, suggesting that it might play a role in cell and circuit functionality. However, this specificity has not been fully exploited. Here, we demonstrate that microRNA-34a (miR-34a) is selectively expressed in a subpopulation of GABAergic neurons of the ventrolateral DRN. Moreover, we report that acute exposure to both aversive (restraint stress) and rewarding (chocolate) stimuli reduces GABA release in the DRN, an effect prevented by the inactivation of DRN miR-34a or its genetic deletion in GABAergic neurons in aversive but not rewarding conditions. Finally, miR-34a inhibition selectively reduced passive coping with severe stressors. These data support a role of miR-34a in regulating GABAergic neurotransmitter activity and behavior in a context-dependent manner and suggest that microRNAs could represent a functional signature of specific neuronal subpopulations with valence-specific activity in the brain.

GABAergic miR-34a regulates Dorsal Raphè inhibitory transmission in response to aversive, but not rewarding, stimuli

Cifani, Carlo;
2023-01-01

Abstract

The brain employs distinct circuitries to encode positive and negative valence stimuli, and dysfunctions of these neuronal circuits have a key role in the etiopathogenesis of many psychiatric disorders. The Dorsal Raphè Nucleus (DRN) is involved in various behaviors and drives the emotional response to rewarding and aversive experiences. Whether specific subpopulations of neurons within the DRN encode these behaviors with different valence is still unknown. Notably, microRNA expression in the mammalian brain is characterized by tissue and neuronal specificity, suggesting that it might play a role in cell and circuit functionality. However, this specificity has not been fully exploited. Here, we demonstrate that microRNA-34a (miR-34a) is selectively expressed in a subpopulation of GABAergic neurons of the ventrolateral DRN. Moreover, we report that acute exposure to both aversive (restraint stress) and rewarding (chocolate) stimuli reduces GABA release in the DRN, an effect prevented by the inactivation of DRN miR-34a or its genetic deletion in GABAergic neurons in aversive but not rewarding conditions. Finally, miR-34a inhibition selectively reduced passive coping with severe stressors. These data support a role of miR-34a in regulating GABAergic neurotransmitter activity and behavior in a context-dependent manner and suggest that microRNAs could represent a functional signature of specific neuronal subpopulations with valence-specific activity in the brain.
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Ielpo et al., 2023-Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Volume 120, Issue 328 Article number e2301730120.pdf

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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11581/480927
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