Melbourne Veterinary School - Research Publications

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    Aberrant expression of microRNAs as biomarker for schizophrenia: from acute state to partial remission, and from peripheral blood to cortical tissue
    Lai, C-Y ; Lee, S-Y ; Scarr, E ; Yu, Y-H ; Lin, Y-T ; Liu, C-M ; Hwang, T-J ; Hsieh, MH ; Liu, C-C ; Chien, Y-L ; Udawela, M ; Gibbons, AS ; Everall, IP ; Hwu, H-G ; Dean, B ; Chen, WJ (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016-01-19)
    Based on our previous finding of a seven-miRNA (hsa-miR-34a, miR-449a, miR-564, miR-432, miR-548d, miR-572 and miR-652) signature as a potential biomarker for schizophrenia, this study aimed to examine if hospitalization could affect expressions of these miRNAs. We compared their expression levels between acute state and partial remission state in people with schizophrenia (n=48) using quantitative PCR method. Further, to examine whether the blood and brain show similar expression patterns, the expressions of two miRNAs (hsa-miR-34a and hsa-miR-548d) were examined in the postmortem brain tissue of people with schizophrenia (n=25) and controls (n=27). The expression level of the seven miRNAs did not alter after ~2 months of hospitalization with significant improvement in clinical symptoms, suggesting the miRNAs could be traits rather than state-dependent markers. The aberrant expression seen in the blood of hsa-miR-34a and hsa-miR-548d were not present in the brain samples, but this does not discount the possibility that the peripheral miRNAs could be clinically useful biomarkers for schizophrenia. Unexpectedly, we found an age-dependent increase in hsa-miR-34a expressions in human cortical (Brodmann area 46 (BA46)) but not subcortical region (caudate putamen). The correlation between hsa-miR-34a expression level in BA46 and age was much stronger in the controls than in the cases, and the corresponding correlation in the blood was only seen in the cases. The association between the miRNA dysregulations, the disease predisposition and aging warrants further investigation. Taken together, this study provides further insight on the candidate peripheral miRNAs as stable biomarkers for the diagnostics of schizophrenia.
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    SELENBP1 expression in the prefrontal cortex of subjects with schizophrenia
    Udawela, M ; Money, TT ; Neo, J ; Seo, MS ; Scarr, E ; Dean, B ; Everall, IP (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-08-04)
    Selenium binding protein 1 (SELENBP1) messenger RNA (mRNA) has previously been shown to be upregulated in the brain and blood from subjects with schizophrenia. We aimed to validate these findings in a new cohort using real-time PCR in Brodmann's Area (BA) 9, and to determine the disease specificity of increased SELENBP1 expression by measuring SELENBP1 mRNA in subjects with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. We then extended the study to include other cortical regions such as BA8 and BA44. SELENBP1 mRNA was higher in BA9 (P = 0.001), BA8 (P = 0.003) and BA44 (P = 0.0007) from subjects with schizophrenia. Conversely, in affective disorders, there was no significant difference in SELENBP1 mRNA in BA9 (P = 0.67), suggesting that the upregulation may be diagnosis specific. Measurement of SELENBP1 protein levels showed that changes in mRNA did not translate to changes in protein. In addition, chronic treatment of rats with antipsychotics did not significantly affect the expression of Selenbp1 in the cortex (P = 0.24). Our data show that elevated SELENBP1 transcript expression is widespread throughout the prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia, and confirm that this change is a consistent feature of schizophrenia and not a simple drug effect.
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    Different changes in cortical tumor necrosis factor-alpha-related pathways in schizophrenia and mood disorders
    Dean, B ; Gibbons, AS ; Tawadros, N ; Brooks, L ; Everall, IP ; Scarr, E (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2013-07-01)
    The growing body of evidence implicating tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) in the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders led us to measure levels of that protein in the cortex of subjects with major depressive disorders (MDD). Having reported an increase (458%) in the levels of the transmembrane (tmTNFα), but not the soluble (sTNFα), form of the protein in Brodmann's area (BA) 46, but not 24, in people with the disorder, we decided to examine additional components of TNFα-related pathways in the same regions in people with MDD and extend our studies to the same cortical regions of people with schizophrenia (Sz) and bipolar disorders (BD). Using postmortem tissue, western blots and quantitative PCR, we have now shown there is a significant increase (305%) in tmTNFα in Brodmann's area 24, but not 46, from subjects with BD, and that levels of the protein were not altered in Sz. Levels of sTNFα were not altered in BD or Sz. In addition, we have shown that levels of TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1) mRNA are increased in BA 24 (53%) and BA 46 (82%) in people with Sz, whereas levels of TNFR2 mRNA was decreased in BA 46 in people with mood disorders (MDD=-51%; BD=-67%). Levels of proteins frequently used as surrogate markers of neuronal, astrocytic and microglia numbers, as well as levels of the pro-inflammatory marker (interleukin 1β), were not changed in the cortex of people with mood disorders. Our data suggest there are differential changes in TNFα-related markers in the cortex of people with MDD, BD and Sz that may not be related to classical inflammation and may cause changes in different TNFα-related signaling pathways.