Exosomes are cellular secretory vesicles containing microRNAs (miRNAs). Once secreted, exosomes are able to attach to recipient cells and release miRNAs potentially modulating the function of the recipient cell. Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine hypothesized that exosomal miRNA expression in brains of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder (BD) might differ from controls, reflecting either disease-specific or common aberrations in SZ and BD patients. The sources of the analyzed samples included McLean 66 Cohort Collection (Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center), BrainNet Europe II (BNE, a consortium of 18 brain banks across Europe) and Boston Medical Center (BMC). Exosomal miRNAs from frozen postmortem prefrontal cortices with well-preserved RNA were isolated and submitted to profiling by Luminex FLEXMAP 3D microfluidic device. Multiple statistical analyses of microarray data suggested that certain exosomal miRNAs were differentially expressed in SZ and BD subjects in comparison to controls. RT-PCR validation confirmed that two miRNAs, miR-497 in SZ samples and miR-29c in BD samples, have significantly increased expression when compared to control samples. These results warrant future studies to evaluate the potential of exosome-derived miRNAs to serve as biomarkers of SZ and BD.
Banigan MG, Kao PF, Kozubek JA, Winslow AR, Medina J, Costa J, Schmitt A, Schneider A, Cabral H, Cagsal-Getkin O, Vanderburg CR, Delalle I. (2013) Differential expression of exosomal microRNAs in prefrontal cortices of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder patients. PLoS One 8(1), e48814. [article]