MiR34 contributes to spinal muscular atrophy and AAV9-mediated delivery of MiR34a ameliorates the motor deficits in SMA mice

Tai Heng Chen, Shih Hsin Chang, Yu Fu Wu, Ya Ping Yen, Fang Yu Hsu, Yen Chung Chen, Yang Ming, Ho Chiang Hsu, Yi Ching Su, Sheng Tang Wong, Jui Hung Hung, Shih Hwa Chiou, Yuh Jyh Jong*, Jun An Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the selective loss of spinal motor neurons (MNs) and concomitant muscle weakness. Mutation of SMN1 is known to cause SMA, and restoring SMN protein levels via antisense oligonucleotide treatment is effective for ameliorating symptoms. However, this approach is hindered by exorbitant costs, invasive procedures, and poor treatment responses of some patients. Here, we seek to circumvent these hurdles by identifying reliable biomarkers that could predict treatment efficacy. We uncovered that MiR34 exhibits consistent downregulation during SMA progression in both human and rodent contexts. Importantly, Mir34 family-knockout mice display axon swelling and reduced neuromuscular junction (NMJ) endplates, recapitulating SMA pathology. Introducing MiR34a via scAAV9 improved the motor ability of SMNΔ7 mice, possibly by restoring NMJ endplate size. Finally, we observed a consistent decreasing trend in MiR34 family expression in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of type I SMA patients during the loading phase of nusinersen treatment. Baseline CSF MiR34 levels before nusinersen injection proved predictive of patient motor skills 1 year later. Thus, we propose that MiR34 may serve as a biomarker of SMA since it is associated with the pathology and can help evaluate the therapeutic effects of nusinersen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-160
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Therapy - Nucleic Acids
Volume32
DOIs
StatePublished - 13 Jun 2023

Keywords

  • ASO
  • biomarker
  • microRNA
  • MiR34
  • MT: Non-coding RNAs
  • nusinersen
  • SMA
  • spinal muscular atrophy

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