Journal of Molecular Medicine

, Volume 94, Issue 8, pp 853–866 | Cite as

Noncoding RNAs in the regulation of skeletal muscle biology in health and disease

  • Adriana Simionescu-Bankston
  • Ashok Kumar


Skeletal muscle is composed of multinucleated myofibers that arise from the fusion of myoblasts during development. Skeletal muscle is essential for various body functions such as maintaining posture, locomotion, breathing, and metabolism. Skeletal muscle undergoes remarkable adaptations in response to environmental stimuli leading to atrophy or hypertrophy. Moreover, degeneration of skeletal muscle is a common feature in a number of muscular disorders including muscular dystrophy. Emerging evidence suggests that noncoding RNAs, such as microRNAs (miRNAs) and long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), are critical for skeletal muscle physiology. Several miRNAs and lncRNAs have now been found to control skeletal muscle development and regeneration. Noncoding RNAs also play an important role in the regulation of skeletal muscle mass in adults. Furthermore, aberrant expression of miRNAs and lncRNAs has been observed in several muscular disorders. In this article, we discuss the mechanisms of action of miRNAs and lncRNAs in skeletal muscle formation, growth, regeneration, and disease. We further highlight potential therapeutic strategies for utilizing noncoding RNAs to improve skeletal muscle function.


Skeletal muscle Myogenesis MicroRNA Long noncoding RNA Muscular dystrophy 



We would like to apologize to the many researchers whose contributions were not cited due to space limitation or our oversight. This work was supported by funding from National Institute of Health (NIH, USA) grants AR059810, AR068313, and AG029623 to Ashok Kumar.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anatomical Sciences and NeurobiologyUniversity of Louisville School of MedicineLouisvilleUSA

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