Prof. dr hab. Violetta-Joanna Dymicka-Piekarska from the Department of Laboratory Clinical Diagnostics has co-authored a multi-centre publication under the title of "miR-483-5p offsets functional and behavioral effects of stress in male mice through synapse-targeted repression of Pgap2 in the basolateral amygdala", published on April 25, 2023, in the prestigious journal within the Nature Publishing Group – Nature Communications with an IF of 17,694 and 200 points of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. The publication was supervised by Prof Robert Pawlak from the University of Exeter in Great Britain and is the result of Professor Dymicka-Piekarska’s cooperation established during a scientific internship at the Laboratory of Neuronal Plasticity and Behavior of the University of Exeter. The research involved scientists not only from Great Britain (Bristol and London) but also from Canada and Poland (the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw and Krakow).
Stress and severe psychological trauma are widely known to cause genetic, biochemical, and structural changes in neurons that underlie the development of stress-induced behavioral abnormalities. The so-called “emotional brain” – the amygdala, plays an extremely important role in these processes.
To study these processes, the group of scientists used a wide range of modern research techniques, including microscopic methods, genome scanning, behavioral tests, and gene therapy.
The findings revealed that a short, non-coding RNA fragment (miR-483-5p) is stimulated by traumatic experiences and binds to the Pgap2 gene, suppressing its expression in this region of the brain. Activation of this newly discovered molecular cascade causes changes in the structure of nerve processes in the amygdala and consequently balances the functional and behavioral effects of stress. Consequently, anxiety-related behaviors often associated with stress were reduced.
The discovery of this new stress-management mechanism offers hope for the development of new therapies to mitigate its effects in the future. Although the research was conducted in mice, the neural mechanisms associated with stress and anxiety are strongly conserved across species. Therefore, there is potential for this research to contribute to the development of new anxiolytic drugs with clinical applications as technology advances.
The research outcomes have garnered significant attention within the scientific community, both in the UK and worldwide. Despite being published relatively recently, on April 25, 2023, the paper has already received nearly 10,000 views, generated over thirty press articles, and sparked numerous discussions on social media. This remarkable response positions the paper within the top 1% of all scientific publications globally during this period.