Arthritis & rheumatology (Hoboken, N.J.)

Inhibition of myogenic microRNAs 1, 133, and 206 by inflammatory cytokines links inflammation and muscle degeneration in adult inflammatory myopathies.

PMID 24757153


The molecular basis of inflammatory myopathies such as dermatomyositis (DM), polymyositis, and inclusion body myositis, which share the characteristics of chronic muscle inflammation and skeletal muscle wasting, are poorly understood. As such, effective targeted treatments for these diseases are lacking, resulting in critical unmet medical needs for these devastating diseases. The purpose of this study was to identify possible new targets for drug development by exploring the mechanism by which inflammation may play a role in the pathology of the inflammatory myopathies. We compared expression levels of inflammatory cytokines and microRNAs (miRNAs) between muscle biopsy samples from patients with inflammatory myopathies and those from donors without myositis. In vitro human and mouse model systems were then used to characterize the role of these cytokines and microRNAs on myoblast-to-myocyte differentiation. We observed increased expression of inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), interferon-α (IFNα), IFNβ, and interleukin-1β, in different subtypes of inflammatory myopathies. We observed decreased expression of microRNA-1 (miR-1), miR-133a, and miR-133b in all of the inflammatory myopathy subtypes we evaluated, as well as decreased expression of miR-206 in DM; these miRNAs are essential for adult skeletal muscle differentiation and maintenance. TNFα was significantly inversely correlated with decreased myogenic miRNA expression in the inflammatory myopathy subtypes. In mechanistic studies, TNFα inhibited the expression of myogenic miRNAs and suppressed the differentiation of C2C12 myoblasts to myocytes/myotubes in an NF-κB-dependent manner. This block in differentiation by TNFα was relieved by overexpression of miR-1, miR-206, or miR-133a/b. Taken together, these results provide a new mechanistic link between the action of proinflammatory cytokines and the degenerative pathology of inflammatory myopathies, and suggest therapeutic approaches for these diseases.