Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.479, No.3, 590-595, 2016
Chronic alcohol exposure induces muscle atrophy (myopathy) in zebrafish and alters the expression of microRNAs targeting the Notch pathway in skeletal muscle
Muscle wasting is estimated to affect 40-60% of alcoholics, and is more common than cirrhosis among chronic alcohol abusers. The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying alcohol-related musculoskeletal dysfunction are, however, poorly understood. Muscle-specific microRNAs (miRNAs) referred to as myoMirs are now known to play a key role in both myogenesis and muscle atrophy. Yet, no studies have investigated a role for myoMirs in alcohol-related skeletal muscle damage. We developed a zebrafish model of chronic ethanol exposure to better define the mechanisms mediating alcohol-induced muscle atrophy. Adult fish maintained at 0.5% ethanol for eight weeks demonstrated significantly reduced muscle fiber cross-sectional area (similar to 12%, P < 0.05) compared to fish housed in normal water. Zebrafish miRNA microarray revealed marked changes in several miRNAs with ethanol treatment. Importantly, miR-140, a miRNA that shows 100% sequence homology with miR-140 from both mouse and human, is decreased 10-fold in ethanol treated fish. miR-140 targets several members of the Notch signaling pathway such as DNER, JAG1, and Hey1, and PCR data show that both Heyl and Notch 1 are significantly up- related (3-fold) in muscle of ethanol treated fish. In addition, miR-146a, which targets the Notch antagonist Numb, is elevated in muscle from ethanol-treated fish. Upregulation of Notch signaling suppresses myogenesis and maintains muscle satellite cell quiescence. These data suggest that miRNAs targeting Notch are likely to play important roles in alcohol-related myopathy. Furthermore, zebrafish may serve as a useful model for better understanding the role of microRNAs in alcohol-related tissue damage. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.