Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Document Type



FASEB J. 2021 June ; 35(6): e21644. doi:10.1096/fj.202100242R


How regular physical activity is able to improve health remains poorly understood. The release of factors from skeletal muscle following exercise has been proposed as a possible mechanism mediating such systemic benefits. We describe a mechanism wherein skeletal muscle, in response to a hypertrophic stimulus induced by mechanical overload (MOV), released extracellular vesicles (EVs) containing muscle-specific miR-1 that were preferentially taken up by epidydimal white adipose tissue (eWAT). In eWAT, miR-1 promoted adrenergic signaling and lipolysis by targeting Tfap2α, a known repressor of Adrβ3 expression. Inhibiting EV release prevented the MOV-induced increase in eWAT miR-1 abundance and expression of lipolytic genes. Resistance exercise decreased skeletal muscle miR-1 expression with a concomitant increase in plasma EV miR-1 abundance, suggesting a similar mechanism may be operative in humans. Altogether, these findings demonstrate that skeletal muscle promotes metabolic adaptations in adipose tissue in response to MOV via EV-mediated delivery of miR-1.