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von Rüden, Eva-Lotta; Janssen-Peters, Heike; Reiber, Maria; van Dijk, Roelof Maarten; Xiao, Ke; Seiffert, Isabel; Koska, Ines; Hubl, Christina; Thum, Thomas; Potschka, Heidrun (2023): An exploratory approach to identify microRNAs as circulatory biomarker candidates for epilepsy-associated psychiatric comorbidities in an electrical post-status epilepticus model. Scientific Reports, 13 (1). ISSN 2045-2322

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Patients with epilepsy have a high risk of developing psychiatric comorbidities, and there is a particular need for early detection of these comorbidities. Here, in an exploratory, hypothesis-generating approach, we aimed to identify microRNAs as potential circulatory biomarkers for epilepsy-associated psychiatric comorbidities across different rat models of epilepsy. The identification of distress-associated biomarkers can also contribute to animal welfare assessment. MicroRNA expression profiles were analyzed in blood samples from the electrical post-status epilepticus (SE) model. Preselected microRNAs were correlated with behavioral and biochemical parameters in the electrical post-SE model, followed by quantitative real-time PCR validation in three additional well-described rat models of epilepsy. Six microRNAs (miR-376a, miR-429, miR-494, miR-697, miR-763, miR-1903) were identified showing a positive correlation with weight gain in the early post-insult phase as well as a negative correlation with social interaction, saccharin preference, and plasma BDNF. Real-time PCR validation confirmed miR-203, miR-429, and miR-712 as differentially expressed with miR-429 being upregulated across epilepsy models. While readouts from the electrical post-SE model suggest different microRNA candidates for psychiatric comorbidities, cross-model analysis argues against generalizability across models. Thus, further research is necessary to compare the predictive validity of rodent epilepsy models for detection and management of psychiatric comorbidities.

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