Pflugers Archiv : European journal of physiology

MicroRNA-23a has minimal effect on endurance exercise-induced adaptation of mouse skeletal muscle.

PMID 24756198


Skeletal muscles contain several subtypes of myofibers that differ in contractile and metabolic properties. Transcriptional control of fiber-type specification and adaptation has been intensively investigated over the past several decades. Recently, microRNA (miRNA)-mediated posttranscriptional gene regulation has attracted increasing attention. MiR-23a targets key molecules regulating contractile and metabolic properties of skeletal muscle, such as myosin heavy-chains and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1α). In the present study, we analyzed the skeletal muscle phenotype of miR-23a transgenic (miR-23a Tg) mice to explore whether forced expression of miR-23a affects markers of mitochondrial content, muscle fiber composition, and muscle adaptations induced by 4 weeks of voluntary wheel running. When compared with wild-type mice, protein markers of mitochondrial content, including PGC-1α, and cytochrome c oxidase complex IV (COX IV), were significantly decreased in the slow soleus muscle, but not the fast plantaris muscle of miR-23a Tg mice. There was a decrease in type IId/x fibers only in the soleus muscle of the Tg mice. Following 4 weeks of voluntary wheel running, there was no difference in the endurance exercise capacity as well as in several muscle adaptive responses including an increase in muscle mass, capillary density, or the protein content of myosin heavy-chain IIa, PGC-1α, COX IV, and cytochrome c. These results show that miR-23a targets PGC-1α and regulates basal metabolic properties of slow but not fast twitch muscles. Elevated levels of miR-23a did not impact on whole body endurance capacity or exercise-induced muscle adaptations in the fast plantaris muscle.