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Cell Struct Funct. 2008;33(2):163-9. Epub 2008 Oct 1.

MicroRNA-206 is highly expressed in newly formed muscle fibers: implications regarding potential for muscle regeneration and maturation in muscular dystrophy.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, Faculty of Pharmacy, Musashino University, Nishitokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


miR-1, miR-133a, and miR-206 are muscle-specific microRNAs expressed in skeletal muscles and have been shown to contribute to muscle development. To gain insight into the pathophysiological roles of these three microRNAs in dystrophin-deficient muscular dystrophy, their expression in the tibialis anterior (TA) muscles of mdx mice and CXMD(J) dogs were evaluated by semiquantitative RT-PCR and in situ hybridization. Their temporal and spatial expression patterns were also analyzed in C2C12 cells during muscle differentiation and in cardiotoxin (CTX)-injured TA muscles to examine how muscle degeneration and regeneration affect their expression. In dystrophic TA muscles of mdx mice, miR-206 expression was significantly elevated as compared to that in control TA muscles of age-matched B10 mice, whereas there were no differences in miR-1 or miR-133a expression between B10 and mdx TA muscles. On in situ hybridization analysis, intense signals for miR-206 probes were localized in newly formed myotubes with centralized nuclei, or regenerating muscle fibers, but not in intact pre-degenerated fibers or numerous small mononucleated cells, possibly proliferating myoblasts and inflammatory infiltrates. Similar increased expression of miR-206 was also found in C2C12 differentiation and CTX-induced regeneration, in which differentiated myotubes or regenerating fibers showed abundant expression of miR-206. However, CXMD(J) TA muscles contained smaller amounts of miR-206, miR-1, and miR-133a than controls. They exhibited more severe and more progressive degenerative alterations than mdx TA muscles. Taken together, these observations indicated that newly formed myotubes showed markedly increased expression of miR-206, which might reflect active regeneration and efficient maturation of skeletal muscle fibers.

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