Differentially circulating miRNAs after recent osteoporotic fractures can influence osteogenic differentiation.

PMID 26026730


Osteoporosis is the consequence of altered bone metabolism resulting in the systemic reduction of bone strength and increased risk of fragility fractures. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression on a post-transcriptional level and are known to take part in the control of bone formation and bone resorption. In addition, it is known that miRNAs are secreted by many cell types and can transfer "messages" to recipient cells. Thus, circulating miRNAs might not only be useful as surrogate biomarkers for the diagnosis or prognosis of pathological conditions, but could be actively modulating tissue physiology. Therefore, the aim of this study was to test whether circulating miRNAs that exhibit changes in recent osteoporotic fracture patients could be causally related to bone metabolism. In the first step we performed an explorative analysis of 175 miRNAs in serum samples obtained from 7 female patients with recent osteoporotic fractures at the femoral neck, and 7 age-matched female controls. Unsupervised cluster analysis revealed a high discriminatory power of the top 10 circulating miRNAs for patients with recent osteoporotic fractures. In total 6 miRNAs, miR-10a-5p, miR-10b-5p, miR-133b, miR-22-3p, miR-328-3p, and let-7g-5p exhibited significantly different serum levels in response to fracture (adjusted p-value<0.05). These miRNAs were subsequently analyzed in a validation cohort of 23 patients (11 control, 12 fracture), which confirmed significant regulation for miR-22-3p, miR-328-3p, and let-7g-5p. A set of these and of other miRNAs known to change in the context of osteoporotic fractures were subsequently tested for their effects on osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in vitro. The results show that 5 out of 7 tested miRNAs can modulate osteogenic differentiation of MSCs in vitro. Overall, these data suggest that levels of specific circulating miRNAs change in the context of recent osteoporotic fractures and that such perturbations of "normal" levels might affect bone metabolism or bone healing processes.