MiRNA-15b and miRNA-125b are associated with regional Aβ-PET and FDG-PET uptake in cognitively normal individuals with subjective memory complaints

for the INSIGHT-preAD study group, the Alzheimer Precision Medicine Initiative (APMI)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


There is substantial experimental evidence for dysregulation of several microRNA (miRNA) expression levels in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). MiRNAs modulate critical brain intracellular signaling pathways and are associated with AD core pathophysiological mechanisms. First, we conducted a real-time quantitative PCR-based pilot study to identify a set of brain-enriched miRNAs in a monocentric cohort of cognitively normal individuals with subjective memory complaints, a condition associated with increased risk of AD. Second, we investigated the impact of age, sex, and the Apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOE ε4) allele, on the identified miRNA plasma concentrations. In addition, we explored the cross-sectional and longitudinal association of the miRNAs plasma concentrations with regional brain metabolic uptake using amyloid-β (Aβ)-positron emission tomography (Aβ-PET) and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose-PET (18F-FDG-PET). We identified a set of six brain-enriched miRNAs—miRNA-125b, miRNA-146a, miRNA-15b, miRNA-148a, miRNA-26b, and miRNA-100. Age, sex, and APOE ε4 allele were not associated with individual miRNA abundance. MiRNA-15b concentrations were significantly lower in the Aβ-PET-positive compared to Aβ-PET-negative individuals. Furthermore, we found a positive effect of the miRNA-15b*time interaction on regional metabolic 18F-FDG-PET uptake in the left hippocampus. Plasma miRNA-125b concentrations, as well as the miRNA-125b*time interaction (over a 2-year follow-up), were negatively associated with regional Aβ-PET standard uptake value ratio in the right anterior cingulate cortex. At baseline, we found a significantly negative association between plasma miRNA-125b concentrations and 18F-FDG-PET uptake in specific brain regions. In an asymptomatic at-risk population for AD, we show significant associations between plasma concentrations of miRNA-125b and miRNA-15b with core neuroimaging biomarkers of AD pathophysiology. Our results, coupled with existing experimental evidence, suggest a potential protective anti-Aβ effect of miRNA-15b and a biological link between miRNA-125b and Aβ-independent neurotoxic pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number78
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2021


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