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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Apr 1;316(4):E635-E645. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00405.2018. Epub 2018 Dec 21.

Myostatin/SMAD4 signaling-mediated regulation of miR-124-3p represses glucocorticoid receptor expression and inhibits adipocyte differentiation.

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College of Animal Science and Technology, Nanjing Agricultural University , Nanjing , China.


The mechanism of adipocyte regulation specifically in muscle and the influence of muscle tissue on intramuscular fat deposition are unknown. Our previous studies have shown that myostatin, a myokine, is involved in inhibiting the differentiation of preadipocytes and may be a potential regulator that affects the deposition of intramuscular fat. Myostatin inhibited adipogenesis by downregulating the expression of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) in porcine preadipocytes. However, the mechanism of regulation is not yet clear. In this study, we demonstrate microRNA (miR-124-3p) mediates regulation of GR by myostatin. We found that miR-124-3p can target GR 3'-UTR and negatively regulate GR expression. We demonstrate that overexpression of miR-124-3p can reduce differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells by inhibiting GR, and vice versa. The expression of miR-124-3p was upregulated in 3T3-L1 cells treated with myostatin. Further study revealed that myostatin also promotes the expression of SMAD4 and its transfer and localization to the nucleus. The activated myostatin/SMAD4 signal promotes the expression of miR-124-3p by SMAD4 binding to the promoter region of miR-124-3p. When myostatin or SMAD4 activity is inhibited, the upregulation of miR-124-3p is also inhibited. All of these findings suggested that myostatin could inhibit adipogenic differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells by activating miR-124-3p to inhibit GR. These data may provide an explanation for how myostatin signaling affects intramuscular fat deposition in a tissue-specific manner.


GR; fat deposition; miR-124-3p; myostatin; preadipocytes


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