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Plasma microRNA-320c as a Potential Biomarker for the Severity of Knee Osteoarthritis and Regulates cAMP Responsive Element Binding Protein 5 (CREB5) in Chondrocytes.

OBJECTIVE: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a commonly known prevalent joint disease, with limited therapeutic methods. This study aimed to investigate the expression of plasma microRNA-320c (miR-320c) in patients with knee OA and to explore the clinical value and potential mechanism of miR-320c in knee OA.

METHODS: Forty knee OA patients and 20 healthy controls were enrolled. The levels of plasma miR-320c and plasma inflammatory cytokines were measured by real-time PCR or ELISA. Correlations of Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) scores and cytokine levels with the miR-320c expression level were evaluated by Pearson correlation analysis. Then, a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was drawn to analyse the diagnostic value of miR-320c in OA. Finally, the interaction of miR-320c and cAMP responsive element binding protein 5 (CREB5) was determined using a luciferase reporter assay, and the effect of CREB5 on the cAMP pathway was assessed.

RESULTS: The expression level of plasma miR-320c was significantly higher in OA patients than in healthy controls ( p   < 0.05). The increased plasma miR-320c level was positively correlated with the WOMAC score ( r  = 0.796, p   < 0.001) and the plasma interleukin (IL)-1 β ( r  = 0.814, p   < 0.001) and IL-6 ( r  = 0.695, p   < 0.001) levels in patients with OA. ROC curve analysis demonstrated the relatively high diagnostic accuracy of plasma miR-320c for OA. Furthermore, the luciferase reporter assay results showed that miR-320c regulates CREB5 expression by binding to the CREB5 3'-untranslated region. Moreover, suppression of CREB5 significantly reduced the expression levels of c-fos and c-jun.

CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that plasma miR-320c may serve as a potential novel predictor of the severity of knee OA and that miR-320c may play an important role in the pathogenesis of OA through inhibiting the cAMP pathway by targeting CREB5.

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