Muscle miR-16 deletion results in impaired insulin sensitivity and contractile function in a sex-dependent manner. Academic Article uri icon


  • microRNAs (miRs) are linked to various human diseases including type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and emerging evidence suggests that miRs may serve as potential therapeutic targets. Lower miR-16 content is consistent across different models of T2DM; however, the role of miR-16 in muscle metabolic health is still elusive. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate how deletion of miR-16 in mice affects skeletal muscle metabolic health and contractile function in both sexes. This study was conducted using both 1) in vitro and 2) in vivo experiments. In in vitro experiments, we used C2C12 myoblasts to test if inhibition or overexpression of miR-16 affected insulin-mediated glucose handling. In in vivo experiments, we generated muscle-specific miR-16 knockout (KO) mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD) to assess how miR-16 content impacts metabolic and contractile properties including glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, muscle contractile function, protein anabolism, and mitochondrial network health. In in vitro experiments, although inhibition of miR-16 induced impaired insulin signaling (P = 0.002) and glucose uptake (P = 0.014), overexpression of miR-16 did not attenuate lipid overload-induced insulin resistance using the diacylglycerol analog 1-oleoyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycerol. In in vivo experiments, miR-16 deletion induced both impaired muscle contractility (P = 0.031-0.033), and mitochondrial network health (P = 0.008-0.018) in both sexes. However, although males specifically exhibited impaired insulin sensitivity following miR-16 deletion (P = 0.030), female KO mice showed pronounced glucose intolerance (P = 0.046), corresponding with lower muscle weights (P = 0.015), and protein hyperanabolism (P = 0.023). Our findings suggest distinct sex differences in muscle adaptation in response to miR-16 deletion and miR-16 may serve as a key regulator for metabolic dysregulation in T2DM.NEW & NOTEWORTHY We set to investigate the role of miR-16 in skeletal muscle during diet-induced insulin resistance. Our data provide novel evidence that the lack of miR-16 induced multiple aberrations in insulin sensitivity, muscle contractility, mitochondrial network health, and protein turnover in a sex-dependent manner. Interestingly, miR-16 deletion leads to insulin resistance in males and exacerbated glucose intolerance in females, suggesting different mechanisms of metabolic dysregulation with a lack of miR-16 between sexes.

published proceedings

  • Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab

altmetric score

  • 3.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Lim, S., Deaver, J. W., Rosa-Caldwell, M. E., Lee, D. E., Morena da Silva, F., Cabrera, A. R., ... Greene, N. P.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Lim, Seongkyun||Deaver, J William||Rosa-Caldwell, Megan E||Lee, David E||Morena da Silva, Francielly||Cabrera, Ana Regina||Schrems, Eleanor R||Saling, Landen W||Washington, Tyrone A||Fluckey, James D||Greene, Nicholas P

publication date

  • January 2022