Thinking small: Towards microRNA-based therapeutics for anxiety disorders

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Introduction: Anxiety disorders are the most frequently diagnosed psychiatric conditions, negatively affecting quality of life and creating a significant economic burden. These complex disorders are extremely difficult to treat, and there is a great need for novel therapeutics with greater efficacy and minimal adverse side effects.Areas covered: In this review, the authors describe the role that microribonucleic acids (microRNA or miRNA) play in the development of anxiety disorders and their potential to serve as biomarkers of disease as well as targets for pharmacological treatment. Furthermore, the authors discuss the current state of miRNA research, including both preclinical and clinical studies of anxiety disorders.Expert opinion: There is mounting evidence that circulating miRNA may serve as biomarkers of disease and play a role in the development of disease, including psychiatric conditions such as anxiety disorders. Great strides have been made in cancer research, with miRNA-based therapies already in use in clinical studies. However, the use of miRNA for the treatment of neurological disorders, and psychiatric disorders in particular, is still in its nascent stage. The development of safe compounds that are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and target specific cell populations, which are relevant to anxiety-related neurocircuitry, is paramount for the emergence of novel, efficacious miRNA-based therapies in clinical settings.




Scott, K. A., Hoban, A. E., Clarke, G., Moloney, G. M., Dinan, T. G., & Cryan, J. F. (2015, April 1). Thinking small: Towards microRNA-based therapeutics for anxiety disorders. Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs. Informa Healthcare.

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