Overexpression of hsa-miR-148a promotes cartilage production and inhibits cartilage degradation by osteoarthritic chondrocytes

L A Vonk, A H M Kragten, W J A Dhert, D B F Saris, L B Creemers
Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 2014, 22 (1): 145-53

OBJECTIVE: Hsa-miR-148a expression is decreased in Osteoarthritis (OA) cartilage, but its functional role in cartilage has never been studied. Therefore, our aim was to investigate the effects of overexpressing hsa-miR-148a on cartilage metabolism of OA chondrocytes.

DESIGN: OA chondrocytes were transfected with a miRNA precursor for hsa-miR-148a or a miRNA precursor negative control. After 3, 7, 14 and 21 days, real-time PCR was performed to examine gene expression levels of aggrecan (ACAN), type I, II, and X collagen (COL1A1, COL2A1, COl10A1), matrix metallopeptidase 13 (MMP13), a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs 5 (ADAMTS5) and the serpin peptidase inhibitor, clade H (heat shock protein 47), member 1 (SERPINH1). After 3 weeks, DNA content and proteoglycan and collagen content and release were determined. Type II collagen was analyzed at the protein level by Western blot.

RESULTS: Overexpression of hsa-miR-148a had no effect on ACAN, COL1A1 and SERPINH1 gene expression, but increased COL2A1 and decreased COL10A1, MMP13 and ADAMTS5 gene expression. Luciferase reporter assay confirmed direct interaction of miR-148a and COL10A1, MMP13 and ADAMTS5. The matrix deposited by the miR-148a overexpressing cells contained more proteoglycans and collagen, in particular type II collagen. Proteoglycan and collagen release into the culture medium was inhibited, but total collagen production was increased.

CONCLUSION: Overexpression of hsa-miR-148a inhibits hypertrophic differentiation and increases the production and deposition of type II collagen by OA chondrocytes, which is accompanied by an increased retention of proteoglycans. Hsa-miR-148a might be a potential disease-modifying compound in OA, as it promotes hyaline cartilage production.

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