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AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: The crosstalk between skeletal muscle (SkM) and beta cells plays a role in diabetes aetiology. In this study, we have investigated whether SkM-released exosome-like vesicles (ELVs) can be taken up by pancreatic beta cells and can deliver functional cargoes. METHODS: Mice were fed for 16 weeks with standard chow diet (SCD) or with standard diet enriched with 20% palmitate (HPD) and ELVs were purified from quadriceps muscle. Fluorescent ELVs from HPD or SCD quadriceps were injected i.v. or intramuscularly (i.m.) into mice to determine their biodistributions. Micro (mi)RNA quantification in ELVs was determined using quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR)-based TaqMan low-density arrays. Microarray analyses were performed to determine whether standard diet ELVs (SD-ELVs) and high palmitate diet ELVs (HPD-ELVs) induced specific transcriptional signatures in MIN6B1 cells. RESULTS: In vivo, muscle ELVs were taken up by pancreas, 24 h post-injection. In vitro, both SD-ELVs and HPD-ELVs transferred proteins and miRNAs to MIN6B1 cells and modulated gene expressions whereas only HPD-ELVs induced proliferation of MIN6B1 cells and isolated islets. Bioinformatic analyses suggested that transferred HPD-ELV miRNAs may participate in these effects. To validate this, we demonstrated that miR-16, which is overexpressed in HPD-ELVs, was transferred to MIN6B1 cells and regulated Ptch1, involved in pancreas development. In vivo, islets from HPD mice showed increased size and altered expression of genes involved in development, including Ptch1, suggesting that the effect of palm oil on islet size in vivo was reproduced in vitro by treating beta cells with HPD-ELVs. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Our data suggest that muscle ELVs might have an endocrine effect and could participate in adaptations in beta cell mass during insulin resistance.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1049 - 1058


Beta cells, Diabetes, Exosomes, Extracellular vesicles, High-fat diet, Insulin resistance, Palmitate, Skeletal muscle, microRNAs