Background: miRNA-based strategies have recently emerged as a promising therapeutic approach in several neurodegenerative diseases. Unregulated cation influx is implicated in several cellular mechanisms underlying neural cell death during ischemia. The brain constitutively active isoform of transient receptor potential melastatin 7 (TRPM7) represents a glutamate excitotoxicity-independent pathway that significantly contributes to the pathological Ca2+ overload during ischemia. Aims: In the light of these premises, inhibition of TRPM7 may be a reasonable strategy to reduce ischemic injury. Since TRPM7 is a putative target of miRNA135a, the aim of the present paper was to evaluate the role played by miRNA135a in cerebral ischemia. Therefore, the specific objectives of the present paper were: (1) to evaluate miR135a expression in temporoparietal cortex of ischemic rats; (2) to investigate the effect of the intracerebroventricular (icv) infusion of miR135a on ischemic damage and neurological functions; and (3) to verify whether miR135a effects may be mediated by an alteration of TRPM7 expression. Methods: miR135a expression was evaluated by RT- PCR and FISH assay in temporoparietal cortex of ischemic rats. Ischemic volume and neurological functions were determined in rats subjected to transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAo) after miR135a intracerebroventricular perfusion. Target analysis was performed by Western blot. Results: Our results demonstrated that, in brain cortex, 72 h after ischemia, miR135a expression increased, while TRPM7 expression was parallelly downregulated. Interestingly, miR135a icv perfusion strongly ameliorated the ischemic damage and improved neurological functions, and downregulated TRPM7 protein levels. Conclusions: The early prevention of TRPM7 activation is protective during brain ischemia.
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