May 26, 2021

Opportunities and Challenges for MicroRNA-Targeting Therapeutics for Epilepsy

Abstract, originally published in Trends in Pharmacological Sciences

Epilepsy is a common and serious neurological disorder characterized by recurrent spontaneous seizures. Frontline pharmacotherapy includes small-molecule antiseizure drugs that typically target ion channels and neurotransmitter systems, but these fail in 30% of patients and do not prevent either the development or progression of epilepsy. An emerging therapeutic target is microRNA (miRNA), small noncoding RNAs that negatively regulate sets of proteins. Their multitargeting action offers unique advantages for certain forms of epilepsy with complex underlying pathophysiology, such as temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). miRNA can be inhibited by designed antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs; e.g., antimiRs). Here, we outline the prospects for miRNA-based therapies. We review design considerations for nucleic acid-based approaches and the challenges and next steps in developing therapeutic miRNA-targeting molecules for epilepsy.

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