Cancer cell-derived exosomal miR-425-3p induces white adipocyte atrophy

Adipocyte. 2022 Dec;11(1):487-500. doi: 10.1080/21623945.2022.2108558.


White adipose tissue wasting plays a critical role in the development and progression of cancer cachexia. However, the mechanism behind the loss of adipose tissue remains ill-defined. In this study, we found that cancer cell-derived exosomes highly expressed miR-425-3p. Administration of cancer cell-derived exosomes significantly inhibited proliferation and differentiation of human preadipocytes-viscereal (HPA-v) cells. In mature adipocytes, cancer cell-derived exosomes activated cAMP/PKA signalling and lipophagy, leading to adipocyte lipolysis and browning of white adipocytes. These exosomes-induced alterations were almost abolished by endocytosis inhibitor cytochalasin D (CytoD) and antagomiR-425-3p, or reproduced by miR-425-3p mimics. In addition, bioinformatics analysis and luciferase reporter assay revealed that miR-425-3p directly targeted proliferation-related genes such as GATA2, IGFBP4, MMP15, differentiation-related gene CEBPA, and phosphodiesterase 4B gene (PDE4B). Depletion of PDE4B enhanced cAMP/PKA signalling and lipophagy, but had no effects on HPA-v proliferation and differentiation. Taken together, these results suggested that cancer cell-derived exosomal miR-425-3p inhibited preadipocyte proliferation and differentiation, increased adipocyte lipolysis, and promoted browning of white adipocytes, all of which might contribute to adipocyte atrophy and ultimately the loss of adipose tissue in cancer cachexia.Abbreviations: ADPN: adiponectin; aP2: adipocyte protein 2 or fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4); BCA: bicinchoninic acid assay; BFA: bafilomycin A1; BMI: body mass index; C/EBP: CCAAT/enhancer binding protein; CEBPA: CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-alpha; C-Exo: cancer cell-derived exosomes; CNTL: control; CREB: cAMP-response element binding protein; CytoD: cytochalasin D; ECL: chemiluminescence; GATA2: GATA Binding Protein 2; HFD: high fat diet; HSL: hormone-sensitive lipase; IGFBP4: insulin like growth factor binding protein 4; IRS-1: insulin receptor substrate-1; ISO: isoproterenol hydrochloride; KD: knockdown; KO: knock out; LC3: microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B-light chain 3; LMF: lipid mobilizing factor; LPL: lipoprotein lipase; MMP15: matrix metallopeptidase 15; Mir-Inh-C-Exo: cancer cell-derived exosomes with miR-425-3p inhibition; mTOR: mammalian target of rapamycin; Mut: mutant; N-Exo: normal cell-derived exosomes; NSCLC: non-small cell lung cancer; PBS, phosphate buffered saline; PGC-1: peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1; PDEs: phosphodiesterases; PKI: PKA inhibitor; PKA: cAMP-dependent protein kinase; PLIN1: Perilipin 1; PTHRP: parathyroid hormone-related protein; PVDF: polyvinylidene difluoride; shRNA: short hairpin RNA; UCP1: uncoupling protein 1; WT: wild type.

Keywords: Exosome; PDE4B; adipocytes; atrophy; miR-425-3p.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes, White / metabolism
  • Atrophy
  • Cachexia
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung*
  • Cytochalasin D
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 15
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism


  • MIRN425 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Cytochalasin D
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 15

Grant support

This work was supported in part by Shenzhen Second People’s Hospital (2019060014).