Emerging studies have demonstrated that microRNAs (miRs) participate in the development of multiple metabolic complications including cardiovascular diseases. Among them, circulating level of liver-secreted miR-122 was closely correlated with several consequence of heart diseases in clinical studies, and overexpression of miR-122 impaired cardiomyocyte function. However, it was unknown whether miR-122 could regulate cardiac biology in obesity. Therefore, present study was to disclose the role of miR-122 in cardiac metabolic disorders and potential molecular mechanisms. Through utilizing clinical samples and high fat diet-fed mice, we investigated the physiological roles of miR-122 in obesity-related cardiomyopathy. Besides, present study explored the mitochondrial function under exosomal miR-122 stimulation in mouse primary cardiomyocytes. In clinical samples and obese mice, the circulating level of exosomal miR-122 was positively correlated with cardiac dysfunctional parameters, including reduction in ejection fraction (EF) and increased levels of NT-proBNP. Human plasma exosomes transported miR-122 into mouse primary cardiomyocytes, and impaired mitochondrial ATP production and oxygen consumption, whereas miR-122 sponge improved these inhibitory effects. In dietary-induced mice, increased hepatic and circulating exosomal miR-122 deteriorated cardiac structure and functional index, and inhibited mitochondrial function. Liver-specific blockage of miR-122 attenuated abnormal cardiac remodeling. Mechanistically, miR-122 directly bound and suppressed mitochondrial protein ADP-ribosylation factor-like 2 (Arl-2) in vitro and in vivo. Knockdown of Arl-2 abolished the mitochondrial benefits of miR-122 sponge in exosome-treated mouse primary cardiomyocytes.

In conclusions, our present study firstly showed that liver-secreted exosomal miR-122 played a critical role in the development of metabolic cardiomyopathy, and miR-122/mitochondrial Arl-2 signaling affected cardiac energy homeostasis.

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