Differential microRNA profiles of intramuscular and secreted extracellular vesicles in human tissue-engineered muscle.


Exercise affects the expression of microRNAs (miR/s) and muscle-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs). To evaluate sarcoplasmic and secreted miR expression in human skeletal muscle in response to exercise-mimetic contractile activity, we utilized a three-dimensional tissue-engineered model of human skeletal muscle ("myobundles"). Myobundles were subjected to three culture conditions: no electrical stimulation (CTL), chronic low frequency stimulation (CLFS), or intermittent high frequency stimulation (IHFS) for 7 days. RNA was isolated from myobundles and from extracellular vesicles (EVs) secreted by myobundles into culture media; miR abundance was analyzed by miRNA-sequencing. We used edgeR and a within-sample design to evaluate differential miR expression and Pearson correlation to evaluate correlations between myobundle and EV populations within treatments with statistical significance set at p < 0.05. Numerous miRs were differentially expressed between myobundles and EVs; 116 miRs were differentially expressed within CTL, 3 within CLFS, and 2 within IHFS. Additionally, 25 miRs were significantly correlated (18 in CTL, 5 in CLFS, 2 in IHFS) between myobundles and EVs. Electrical stimulation resulted in differential expression of 8 miRs in myobundles and only 1 miR in EVs. Several KEGG pathways, known to play a role in regulation of skeletal muscle, were enriched, with differentially overrepresented miRs between myobundle and EV populations identified using miEAA. Together, these results demonstrate that in vitro exercise-mimetic contractile activity of human engineered muscle affects both their expression of miRs and number of secreted EVs. These results also identify novel miRs of interest for future studies of the role of exercise in organ-organ interactions in vivo.





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Publication Info

Vann, Christopher G, Xin Zhang, Alastair Khodabukus, Melissa C Orenduff, Yu-Hsiu Chen, David L Corcoran, George A Truskey, Nenad Bursac, et al. (2022). Differential microRNA profiles of intramuscular and secreted extracellular vesicles in human tissue-engineered muscle. Frontiers in physiology, 13. p. 937899. 10.3389/fphys.2022.937899 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/29752.

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Christopher Vann

Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Vann is an exercise physiologist with a research focus centered in skeletal muscle physiology. His research focuses on elucidating mechanisms of tissue-to-tissue crosstalk and understanding how exercise-induced changes in epigenetic, genetic, and protein-level factors relate to health and performance outcomes across the age span. As rates of obesity, cardiometabolic disease, and sarcopenia increase in the U.S., Dr. Vann's research is centered on understanding the role of exercise in improved health outcomes at the molecular level and applying this knowledge to develop precise evidence based exercise interventions.


Xin Zhang

Assistant Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery

George A. Truskey

R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

My research interests focus upon the effect of physical forces on the function of vascular cells and skeletal muscle, cell adhesion, and the design of engineered tissues.  Current research projects examine the  effect of endothelial cell senescence upon permeability to macromolecules and the response to fluid shear stress, the development of microphysiological blood vessels and muscles for evaluation of drug toxicity and the design of engineered endothelialized blood vessels and skeletal muscle bundles.


Nenad Bursac

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Bursac's research interests include: Stem cell, tissue engineering, and gene based therapies for heart and muscle regeneration; Cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmias; Organ-on-chip and tissue engineering technologies for disease modeling and therapeutic screening; Small and large animal models of heart and muscle injury, disease, and regeneration.

The focus of my research is on application of pluripotent stem cells, tissue engineering, and gene therapy technologies for: 1) basic studies of striated muscle biology and disease in vitro and 2) regenerative therapies in small and large animal models in vivo. For in vitro studies, micropatterning of extracellular matrix proteins or protein hydrogels and 3D cell culture are used to engineer rodent and human striated muscle tissues that replicate the structure-function relationships present in healthy and diseased muscles. We use these models to separate and systematically study the roles of structural and genetic factors that contribute cardiac and skeletal muscle function and disease at multiple organizational levels, from single cells to tissues. Combining cardiac and skeletal muscle cells with primary or iPSC-derived non-muscle cells (endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, immune system cells, neurons) allows us to generate more realistic models of healthy and diseased human tissues and utilize them to mechanistically study molecular and cellular processes of tissue injury, vascularization, innervation, electromechanical integration, fibrosis, and functional repair. Currently, in vitro models of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Pompe disease, dyspherlinopathies, and various cardiomyopathies are studied in the lab. For in vivo studies, we employ rodent models of volumetric skeletal muscle loss, cardiotoxin and BaCl2 injury as well as myocardial infarction and transverse aortic constriction to study how cell, tissue engineering, and gene (viral) therapies can lead to safe and efficient tissue repair and regeneration. In large animal (porcine) models of myocardial injury and arrhythmias, we are exploring how human iPSC derived heart tissue patches and application of engineered ion channels can improve cardiac function and prevent heart failure or sudden cardiac death.



Virginia Byers Kraus

Mary Bernheim Distinguished Professor of Medicine

Virginia Byers Kraus, MD, PhD, is the Mary Bernheim Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Professor of Pathology and a faculty member of the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute in the Duke University School of Medicine. She is a practicing Rheumatologist with over 30 years’ experience in translational musculoskeletal research focusing on osteoarthritis, the most common of all arthritides. She trained at Brown University (ScB 1979), Duke University (MD 1982, PhD 1993) and the Duke University School of Medicine (Residency in Internal Medicine and Fellowship in Rheumatology). Her career has focused on elucidating osteoarthritis pathogenesis and translational research into the discovery and validation of biomarkers for early osteoarthritis detection, prediction of progression, monitoring of disease status, and facilitation of therapeutic developments. She is co-PI of the Foundation for NIH Biomarkers Consortium Osteoarthritis project. Trained as a molecular biologist and a Rheumatologist, she endeavors to study disease from bedside to bench.

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