MicroRNA-mediated regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism

Pamela Agbu, Richard W. Carthew*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In animals, systemic control of metabolism is conducted by metabolic tissues and relies on the regulated circulation of a plethora of molecules, such as hormones and lipoprotein complexes. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a family of post-transcriptional gene repressors that are present throughout the animal kingdom and have been widely associated with the regulation of gene expression in various contexts, including virtually all aspects of systemic control of metabolism. Here we focus on glucose and lipid metabolism and review current knowledge of the role of miRNAs in their systemic regulation. We survey miRNA-mediated regulation of healthy metabolism as well as the contribution of miRNAs to metabolic dysfunction in disease, particularly diabetes, obesity and liver disease. Although most miRNAs act on the tissue they are produced in, it is now well established that miRNAs can also circulate in bodily fluids, including their intercellular transport by extracellular vesicles, and we discuss the role of such extracellular miRNAs in systemic metabolic control and as potential biomarkers of metabolic status and metabolic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-438
Number of pages14
JournalNature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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