Main Article Content

Evaluation of MiR-181a as a potential therapeutic target in osteoarthritis

Yuqiang Qian
Jiannong Jiang
Jun Peng
Qiang Wang
Yixin Shen


Purpose: To investigate microRNA-181 (miR-181) as a potential therapeutic target in osteoarthritis (OA).

Methods: MiR-181 expression was evaluated in articular cartilage samples obtained from OA patients undergoing knee arthroplasty and non-OA (control) patients undergoing other orthopedic procedures. Following the isolation of total RNA, miRNA and mRNA expression was determined by real timepolymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Luciferase reporter assay and miRNA mimic or inhibitor were then used to establish the molecular target of miR-181 in chondrocytes.

Results: miR-181 family members, namely, miR-181a, miR-181c and miR-181d were significantly upregulated in articular cartilage obtained from OA patients compared to non-OA control subjects. However, no significant difference in up-regulation of miR-181b expression. B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2), a putative target of the miR-181 family, was significantly down-regulated in OA patients compared to control subjects. Furthermore, luciferase reporter assay confirmed direct interaction between miR-181a and three prime untranslated region The 3’UTR of BCL2 in chondrocytes. Transfection of miR-181 mimic resulted in BCL2 suppression in chondrocytes. On the other hand, transfection of miR-181 inhibitor led to increased BCL2 expression and decreased interleukin 1-beta (IL1-β) induced apoptosis.

Conclusion: miR-181 is differentially expressed in articular cartilage of OA patients and leads to downregulation of BCL2, a regulator of apoptosis. Therefore, miR-181 may be a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of OA.

Keywords: MicroRNA, Osteoarthritis, Apoptosis, B-cell lymphoma 2, Transfection, Chondrocytes

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-9827
print ISSN: 1596-5996