microRNAs (miRNAs) are dysregulated in a variety of disease states, suggesting that this newly discovered class of gene expression repressors may be viable therapeutic targets. A microarray of miRNA changes in ALS-model superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1)G93A rodents identified 12 miRNAs as significantly changed. Six miRNAs tested in human ALS tissues were confirmed increased. Specifically, miR-155 was increased 5-fold in mice and 2-fold in human spinal cords. To test miRNA inhibition in the central nervous system (CNS) as a potential novel therapeutic, we developed oligonucleotide-based miRNA inhibitors (anti-miRs) that could inhibitmiRNAs throughout the CNS and in the periphery. Anti-miR-155 caused global derepression of targets in peritoneal macrophages and, following intraventricular delivery, demonstrated widespread functional distribution in the brain and spinalcord. After treating SOD1G93A mice with anti-miR-155, we significantly extended survival by 10 daysand disease duration by 15 days (38%) while a scrambled control anti-miR did not significantly improve survival or disease duration. Therefore, antisense oligonucleotides may be used to successfully inhibit miRNAs throughout the brain and spinal cord, and miR-155 is a promising new therapeutic target for human ALS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberddt261
Pages (from-to)4127-4135
Number of pages9
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2013


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