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The function of microRNAs in cartilage and osteoarthritis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Matthew Barter, Professor David YoungORCiD


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MicroRNAs are small double-stranded RNAs, which negatively regulate gene expression and have been shown to have key roles in both chondrocyte development and cartilage homeostasis with age. Deletion of all microRNAs in chondrocytes leads to skeletal growth defects in mice, whilst deletion of specific microRNAs, e.g. miR-140, leads to premature articular cartilage degradation and increased susceptibility to posttraumatic osteoarthritis. Studies comparing microRNA expression in normal human articular cartilage compared to osteoarthritic cartilage show differential expression, but varying sample groups make interpretation difficult. MicroRNAs have been proposed as circulating biomarkers of osteoarthritis, but again, this differs amongst patient cohorts. Many micro-RNAs have been shown to have roles in chondrocyte phenotype via signalling pathways, apoptosis, autophagy and senescence. Modulating microRNAs in the joint has been shown to reduce osteoarthritis in animal models and translating this to man as a novel therapeutic strategy will be key.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Swingler TE, Niu L, Smith P, Paddy P, Le L, Barter MJ, Young DA, Clark IM

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology

Year: 2019

Volume: 37

Issue: 5

Pages: 40-47

Online publication date: 15/10/2019

Acceptance date: 04/09/2019

ISSN (print): 0392-856X

ISSN (electronic): 1593-098X

Publisher: NLM (Medline)


PubMed id: 31621575