Dynamic regulation of circulating microRNA during acute exhaustive exercise and sustained aerobic exercise training

Aaron L. Baggish, Andrew Hale, Rory B. Weiner, Gregory D. Lewis, David Systrom, Francis Wang, Thomas J. Wang, Stephen Y. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

328 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are intracellular mediators of essential biological functions. Recently, plasma-based 'circulating' miRNAs (c-miRNAs) have been shown to control cellular processes, but the c-miRNA response to human exercise remains unknown. We sought to determine whether c-miRNAs are dynamically regulated in response to acute exhaustive cycling exercise and sustained rowing exercise training using a longitudinal, repeated measures study design. Specifically, c-miRNAs involved in angiogenesis (miR-20a, miR-210, miR-221, miR-222, miR-328), inflammation (miR-21, miR-146a), skeletal and cardiac muscle contractility (miR-21, miR-133a), and hypoxia/ischaemia adaptation (miR-21, miR-146a, and miR-210) were measured at rest and immediately following acute exhaustive cycling exercise in competitive male rowers (n= 10, age = 19.1 ± 0.6 years) before and after a 90 day period of rowing training. Distinct patterns of c-miRNA response to exercise were observed and adhered to four major profiles: (1) c-miRNA up-regulated by acute exercise before and after sustained training (miR-146a and miR-222), (2) c-miRNA responsive to acute exercise before but not after sustained training (miR-21 and miR-221), (3) c-miRNA responsive only to sustained training (miR-20a), and (4) non-responsive c-miRNA (miR-133a, miR-210, miR-328). Linear correlations were observed between peak exercise levels of miR-146a and (r= 0.63, P= 0.003) and between changes in resting miR-20a and changes in (pre-training vs. post-training, r= 0.73; P= 0.02). Although future work is required, these results suggest the potential value of c-miRNAs as exercise biomarkers and their possible roles as physiological mediators of exercise-induced cardiovascular adaptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3983-3994
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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