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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

Menu Logo Principal AgroParisTech Université Paris-Saclay


GABI : Génétique Animale et Biologie IntégrativeUnité Mixte de Recherche INRA - AgroParisTech

Advances on microRNA cataloguing and functions in horses

Advances on microRNA cataloguing and functions in horses
These two publications present a significant advance of knowledge of nature, diversity and microRNA functions in the horse and notably in muscle, bone, and cartilage tissues and blood.

Context and stakes

MicroRNA play a major role in the post-transcriptional regulation of nearly 70% of coding genes. Their knowledge is useful for the understanding of gene regulation mechanisms in embryo development but also in the maintenance of tissue renewal and notably in muscles, bones and cartilage which are always being overhauled notably in the pathologies studied by our team, myopathies and osteochondrosis.
An application of this microRNA catalogue is to decipher the regulation mechanisms implicated after a few hours during adaptation to prolonged exercise. The renewal of tissues and notably muscles, the liver and other tissues that are highly solicited during prolonged exercise during 8 hour endurance races at an average speed of 20 km/h.      


For the first time, an exhaustive catalogue of microRNA was obtained from sequencing of total RNA extracted from muscles, heart, liver, bones, cartilage, total blood and serum. In addition to the 781 orthologous miRNA already identified in other species, 683 new equine microRNA were sequenced and predicted. The analyses revealed differential expression according to tissues and breed.
After a 160 km race including at least 8 hours of exercise, nearly 253 genes and 167 microRNA were differentially expressed in whole blood. Interaction analyses revealed that only 44 microRNA reduce the expression of 351 transcripts implicated in glucose metabolism, fatty acid beta-oxydation, mitochondrial biogenesis and inflammation. Three of the main microRNA are at the heart of adaptation to prolonged exercise: miR-21-5p, miR-181b-5p and miR-505-5p.


Nearly 50 microRNA were identified in serum and even more in whole blood. They are biomarker candidates for myophathies and other pathologies. The biological results of the effect of prolonged exercise tend to indicate that the factors of metabolic risks should help improve prevention of exhaustion accidents during races. In addition, factors that favor endurance aptitude may be used in selection. They will be compared to the current GWAS on fitness for this discipline.  


The new equine microRNA identified is currently being referenced in the miRBase. This publication is of general application to all biologists working on horses. There will be practical uses for some tissue or sera microRNA as biomarkers for pathologies. The analysis method for the microRNA-RNAm interactions using hypergeometric tests was used in this publication for the first time and will certainly be used in integrative transcriptomic analyses.  


Pacholewska, A., Mach, N., Mata, X., Vaiman, A., Schibler, L., Barrey, E., & Gerber, V. (2016). Novel equine tissue miRNAs and breed-related miRNA expressed in serum. BMC Genomics, 17(1), 831.

Mach N, Plancade S, Pacholewska A, Lecardonnel J, Rivière J, Moroldo M, Vaiman A, Morgenthaler C, Beinat M, Nevot A, Robert C, Barrey E. (2016). Integrated mRNA and miRNA expression profiling in blood reveals candidate biomarkers associated with endurance exercise in the horse. Scientific Reports. 2016 Mar 10;6:22932