Influence of physical exercise on microRNAs in skeletal muscle regeneration, aging and diseases

Simona Ultimo, Giorgio Zauli, Alberto M. Martelli, Marco Vitale, James A. McCubrey, Silvano Capitani and Luca M. Neri _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:17220-17237. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24991

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Simona Ultimo1, Giorgio Zauli1, Alberto M. Martelli2, Marco Vitale3,4, James A. McCubrey5, Silvano Capitani1 and Luca M. Neri1

1Department of Morphology, Surgery and Experimental Medicine, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

2Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

3Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Parma, Italy

4CoreLab, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Parma, Parma, Italy

5Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, USA

Correspondence to:

Luca M. Neri, email: [email protected]

Silvano Capitani, email: [email protected]

Keywords: skeletal muscle; regeneration; aging; physical activity; miRNAs

Received: December 21, 2017     Accepted: March 06, 2018     Published: March 30, 2018


Skeletal muscle is a dynamic tissue with remarkable plasticity and its growth and regeneration are highly organized, with the activation of specific transcription factors, proliferative pathways and cytokines. The decline of skeletal muscle tissue with age, is one of the most important causes of functional loss of independence in older adults. Maintaining skeletal muscle function throughout the lifespan is a prerequisite for good health and independent living.

Physical activity represents one of the most effective preventive agents for muscle decay in aging.

Several studies have underlined the importance of microRNAs (miRNAs) in the control of myogenesis and of skeletal muscle regeneration and function.

In this review, we reported an overview and recent advances about the role of miRNAs expressed in the skeletal muscle, miRNAs regulation by exercise in skeletal muscle, the consequences of different physical exercise training modalities in the skeletal muscle miRNA profile, their regulation under pathological conditions and the role of miRNAs in age-related muscle wasting.

Specific miRNAs appear to be involved in response to different types of exercise and therefore to play an important role in muscle fiber identity and myofiber gene expression in adults and elder population.

Understanding the roles and regulation of skeletal muscle miRNAs during muscle regeneration may result in new therapeutic approaches in aging or diseases with impaired muscle function or re-growth.

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