Exosome-Mediated miR-29 Transfer Reduces Muscle Atrophy and Kidney Fibrosis in Mice

Mol Ther. 2019 Mar 6;27(3):571-583. doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2019.01.008. Epub 2019 Jan 18.


Our previous study showed that miR-29 attenuates muscle wasting in chronic kidney disease. Other studies found that miR-29 has anti-fibrosis activity. We hypothesized that intramuscular injection of exosome-encapsulated miR-29 would counteract unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO)-induced muscle wasting and renal fibrosis. We used an engineered exosome vector, which contains an exosomal membrane protein gene Lamp2b that was fused with the targeting peptide RVG (rabies viral glycoprotein peptide). RVG directs exosomes to organs that express the acetylcholine receptor, such as kidney. The intervention of Exo/miR29 increased muscle cross-sectional area and decreased UUO-induced upregulation of TRIM63/MuRF1 and FBXO32/atrogin-1. Interestingly, renal fibrosis was partially depressed in the UUO mice with intramuscular injection of Exo/miR29. This was confirmed by decreased TGF-β, alpha-smooth muscle actin, fibronectin, and collagen 1A1 in the kidney of UUO mice. When we used fluorescently labeled Exo/miR29 to trace the Exo/miR route in vivo and found that fluorescence was visible in un-injected muscle and in kidneys. We found that miR-29 directly inhibits YY1 and TGF-β3, which provided a possible mechanism for inhibition of muscle atrophy and renal fibrosis by Exo/miR29. We conclude that Exo/miR29 ameliorates skeletal muscle atrophy and attenuates kidney fibrosis by downregulating YY1 and TGF-β pathway proteins.

Keywords: FBXO32/atrogin-1; TGF-β1; TGF-β3; TRIM63/MuRF1; Yin Yang 1; α-SMA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / physiology
  • Exosomes / genetics
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • Fibronectins / genetics
  • Fibronectins / metabolism
  • Fibrosis / genetics
  • Fibrosis / therapy*
  • Kidney Diseases / genetics
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / physiology*
  • Muscular Atrophy / genetics
  • Muscular Atrophy / therapy*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta3 / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta3 / metabolism


  • Fibronectins
  • MIRN29 microRNA, mouse
  • MicroRNAs
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta3