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Inhibition of miR-141-3p Ameliorates the Negative Effects of Poststroke Social Isolation in Aged Mice [Basic Sciences]

Background and Purpose—Social isolation increases mortality and impairs recovery after stroke in clinical populations. These detrimental effects have been recapitulated in animal models, although the exact mechanism mediating these effects remains unclear. Dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) occurs in both strokes as well as after social isolation, which trigger changes in many downstream genes. We hypothesized that miRNA regulation is involved in the detrimental effects of poststroke social isolation in aged animals.Methods—We pair-housed 18-month-old C57BL/6 male mice for 2 weeks before a 60-minute right middle cerebral artery occlusion or sham surgery and then randomly assigned mice to isolation or continued pair housing immediately after surgery. We euthanized mice either at 3, 7, or 15 days after surgery and isolated the perilesional frontal cortex for whole microRNAome analysis. In an additional cohort, we treated mice 1 day after stroke onset with an in vivo-ready antagomiR-141 for 3 days.Results—Using whole microRNAome analysis of 752 miRNAs, we identified miR-141-3p as a unique miRNA that was significantly upregulated in isolated mice in a time-dependent manner up to 2 weeks after stroke. Posttreatment with an antagomiR-141-3p reduced the postisolation-induced increase in miR-141-3p to levels almost equal to those of pair-housed stroke controls. This treatment significantly reduced mortality (by 21%) and normalized infarct volume and neurological scores in poststroke-isolated mice. Quantitative PCR analysis revealed a significant upregulation of Tgfβr1 (transforming growth factor beta receptor 1, a direct target of miR-141-3p) and Igf-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) mRNA after treatment with antagomiR. Treatment also increased the expression of other pleiotropic cytokines such as Il-6 (interleukin 6) and Tnf-α (tumor necrosis factor-α), an indirect or secondary target) in brain tissue.Conclusions—miR-141-3p is increased with poststroke isolation. Inhibition of miR-141-3p improved mortality, neurological deficits, and decreased infarct volumes. Importantly, these therapeutic effects occurred in aged animals, the population most at risk for stroke and poststroke isolation.

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