The role of MicroRNA in the modulation of the melanocortinergic system

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The central control of energy balance involves a highly regulated neuronal network within the hypothalamus and the dorsal vagal complex. In these structures, pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons are known to reduce meal size and to increase energy expenditure. In addition, leptin, a peripheral signal that relays information regarding body fat content, modulates the activity of melanocortin pathway neurons including POMC-, Agouti-related peptide (AgRP)/Neuropeptide Y (NPY)-, melanocortin receptors (MC3R and MC4R)-expressing neurons. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs of 22-26 nucleotides that post-transcriptionally interfere with target gene expression by binding to their mRNAs. Evidence has demonstrated that miRNAs play important roles in the central regulation of energy balance. In this context, different studies identified miRNAs including miR-200 family, miR-103 or miR-488 that could target the genes of melanocortin pathway. More precisely, these different miRNAs can modulate energy homeostasis by affecting leptin transduction pathway in the POMC or AgRP/NPY neurons. This article reviews the role of identified miRNAs in the modulation of melanocortin pathway in the context of energy homeostasis.




Derghal, A., Djelloul, M., Trouslard, J., & Mounien, L. (2017, April 5). The role of MicroRNA in the modulation of the melanocortinergic system. Frontiers in Neuroscience. Frontiers Research Foundation.

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