Muscle atrophy occurs in a variety of physiological and pathological conditions. Specific molecular networks that govern protein synthesis and degradation play important roles in controlling muscle mass under diverse catabolic states. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) were previously found to be regulators of protein synthesis and degradation, and their expressions in skeletal muscle were altered in muscle wasting conditions. However, functional roles of miRNAs in muscle atrophy are poorly understood. In this study, we generated tamoxifen-inducible Dicer knockout (iDicer KO) mice and subjected them to 2 weeks of single hindlimb denervation. The expression of Dicer mRNA was significantly reduced in muscle of the iDicer KO mice compared to that of WT mice. The loss of Dicer moderately reduced levels of muscle-enriched miRNAs, miR-1, miR-133a and miR-206 in both innervated and denervated muscles of the iDicer KO mice. We also found that the extent of denervation-induced muscle atrophy as well as changes of signaling molecules related to protein synthesis/degradation pathways in the iDicer KO mice were comparable to these in WT mice. Taken together, Dicer knockout in adult skeletal muscle did not affect denervation-induced muscle atrophy.
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