A polymorphism in the norepinephrine transporter gene is associated with affective and cardiovascular disease through a microRNA mechanism

FZ Marques, N Eikelis, Richard G Bayles, EA Lambert, N. E. Straznicky, D. Hering, MD Esler, GA Head, DA Barton, MP Schlaich, GW Lambert

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Norepinephrine released from sympathetic nerves is removed from the neuroeffector junction via the action of the norepinephrine transporter (NET). NET impairment is evident in several clinically important conditions including major depressive disorder (MDD), panic disorder (PD), essential hypertension and the postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). We aimed to determine whether a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of the NET gene is associated with NET impairment and to elucidate the mechanisms involved. The analyses were carried out in two cohorts of European ancestry, which included healthy controls and MDD, PD, hypertensive and POTS patients. Compared with controls, cases had significantly higher prevalence of the T allele of rs7194256 (C/T), arterial norepinephrine, depression and anxiety scores, larger left ventricular mass index, higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and heart rate. Bioinformatic analysis identified that the microRNA miR-19a-3p could bind preferentially to the sequence created by the presence of the T allele. This was supported by results of luciferase assays. Compared with controls, cases had significantly lower circulating miR-19a-3p, which was associated with pathways related to blood pressure and regulation of neurotransmission. In vitro norepinephrine downregulated miR-19a-3p. In conclusion, the T allele of the rs7194256 SNP in the 3'UTR of the NET gene is more prevalent in diseases where NET impairment is evident. This might be explained by the creation of a binding site for the microRNA miR-19a-3p. A defect in NET function may potentiate the sympathetic neurochemical signal, predisposing individuals with affective diseases to increased risk of cardiovascular disease development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-141
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

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