MicroRNA351 targeting TRAF6 alleviates dexamethasone-induced myotube atrophy

Jiaying Qiu, Lingbin Wang, Ye Wang, Qiuyu Zhang, Wenjing Ma, Qingqing Fang, Hualin Sun, Fei Ding


Background: Glucocorticoids, including dexamethasone (Dex), are corticosteroids secreted by the adrenal gland, which are used as potent anti-inflammatory, anti-shock, and immunosuppressive agents. Dex is commonly used in patients with malignant tumors, such lung cancer. However, administration of high-dose Dex induces severe atrophy of the skeletal muscle, and the underlying mechanisms of this skeletal muscle atrophy remain unclear. Abundant miRNAs of skeletal muscle, such as miR-351, play an important role in the regulation of extenuating the process of muscle atrophy.
Methods: The mRNA and protein expression of TRAF6, MuRF1, MAFbx was determined by real-time PCR and western blot, while the expression of miR-351 was detected by real-time PCR. The myotubes were transfected with miR-351 mimic, negative control, or miR-351 inhibitor. The C2C12 myotubes diameter was measured.
Results: MicroRNA351 (miR-351) level was markedly reduced and the mRNA and protein levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) were increased in Dex-induced C2C12 myotube atrophy. miR-351 directly interacted with the 3'-untranslated region (3'UTR) of TRAF6. Interestingly, miR-351 administration notably inhibited the reduction of the C2C12 myotube diameter induced by Dex treatment and reduced the levels of TRAF6, muscle-RING-finger protein-1 (MuRF1), and muscle atrophy F-box (MAFbx).
Conclusions: miR-351 counteracts Dex-induced C2C12 myotube atrophy by repressing the TRAF6 expression as well as E3 ubiquitin ligase MuRF1 and MAFbx. miR-351 maybe a potential target for development of a new strategy for skeletal muscle atrophy.