EpimiRBase:  a comprehensive database of microRNA-epilepsy associations

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Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders, affecting approximately 65 million people worldwide. It is characterized by recurring seizures; abnormal, synchronous firing of groups of neurons within the brain that disrupt sensory, motor and other brain functions. Although anti-epileptic drugs help control seizures for a majority of patients, about 1 in 3 patients are drug-resistant and there is no cure for epilepsy. Analysis of brain tissue from patients and experimental models suggests there are large-scale changes in gene expression within affected brain regions. Understanding what controls gene expression may open new avenues for treatment or prevention of epilepsy.

MicroRNAs are short non-coding RNAs which function to fine-tune protein levels in all cells. They achieve this mainly by sequence-specific binding to 3’untranslated regions of target mRNA. The result is post-transcriptional interference in gene expression which reduces protein levels either by promoting destabilisation of mRNA or translational repression. Research published since 2010 shows that microRNAs are important regulators of gene expression in epilepsy, altering levels of proteins that control cell death, inflammation, re-wiring of neuronal networks and other cell functions. MicroRNAs have also been identified in the blood after injury to the brain which may serve as biomarkers of epilepsy.

EpimiRBase was established in 2015 in order to provide complete and up-to-date information on all publications relating to microRNA and epilepsy. The fully-searchable database includes information on up- and down-regulated microRNAs in the brain and blood, as well as functional studies, and covers both experimental models and human epilepsy. We hope you find this a useful resource for your research.

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