- Academic Editor
†These authors contributed equally.
Introduction: Parkinson’s disease (PD), which is a neurodegenerative disease, requires urgently needed biomarkers to explore its mechanism. We screened for differences in the expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) and identified miR-1976 as a possible biomarker. Methods: Twenty-three patients and 30 controls were included in this study. Dopaminergic neurons from C57/BL mice were cultured. The miRNA expression profiles were analyzed using an miRNA microarray. MiR-1976 was identified as an miRNA that was differentially expressed between PD patients and age-matched controls. Lentiviral vectors were constructed, then apoptosis in dopaminergic neurons was analyzed using MTS (multicellular tumor spheroids) and flow cytometry. Transfection of miR-1976 mimics into MES23.5 cells was performed, and target genes and biological effects were analyzed. Results: Overexpression of miR-1976 increased apoptosis and mitochondrial damage in dopaminergic neurons. PINK1 (PINK1-induced kinase 1) was the most common target protein of miR-1976, and silencing of PINK1 caused mitochondrial damage and increased apoptosis of MES23.5 cells. Conclusions: MiR-1976 is a newly discovered miRNA that exhibits a high degree of differential expression with respect to the apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons. Given these results, increased expression of miR-1976 may increase the risk of PD by targeting PINK1 and may therefore be a useful biomarker for PD.