Role of MicroRNAs in the Regulation of Sleep/wakefulness and Their Expression Changes in the Brain Following Sleep Deprivation

Document Type : Original article


1 Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Physiology Research Center, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.

2 Student Research Committee, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.


Background and Objectives The circadian rhythm has 24-hour oscillators and is
introduced as an internal sleep/wakefulness cycle regulator. This system is regulated by
transcription-translation feedback loops. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) include non-coding RNAs,
which are essential in the post-translational modification of mRNA transcripts. MiRNAs play
a significant role in circadian rhythm regulation, and it has been demonstrated that sleep
loss can alter brain miRNA levels. Nowadays, sleep deprivation has turned into a daunting
challenge in modern societies, considering that sleep disorder is the source of many
diseases, and numerous studies have examined the association between sleep disorder and
miRNA dysfunction. Therefore, it appears that it is critical to assess the relationship
between microRNA, circadian rhythm, and sleep disorder.
Subjects and Methods For this purpose, a query was conducted on various databases
(Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Science, and PubMed) for English articles from 1998 to
Results The current evidence confirms that miRNAs are involved in the molecular
regulation of circadian rhythms by regulating sleep duration and intensity. Some of these
miRNAs include miRNA-155, miRNA-7b, MiR-182, miRNA-126, miRNA-192/194, miRNA142-3p, miRNA-132, and miRNA-219-1. Lack of sleep can cause widespread changes in
protein expression throughout the brain by altering miRNA (miR-1b, miRNA-125a-3p, miR146a, miR-26a/b-3p, and miR-138) levels.
Conclusion As reviewed in this study, miRNAs are uniquely expressed at different times
and in various structures in the brain, playing a key role in sleep regulation. These findings
suggest that understanding the abnormalities in the expression of circadian miRNAs could
be used to treat numerous disorders following sleep deprivation.