Scientific reports

MicroRNA-29a Counteracts Synovitis in Knee Osteoarthritis Pathogenesis by Targeting VEGF.

PMID 28620193


Synovitis contributes to the development of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. MicroRNAs regulate joint microenvironment homeostasis and deterioration. This study was undertaken to characterize the actions of microRNA-29a (miR-29a) to synovial remodeling in OA joints. Synovial specimens isolated from patients with end-stage OA knees showed abundant fibrotic matrix and vessel histopathology concomitant with weak miR-29a expression. In vitro, miR-29a knockdown caused synovial fibroblasts to exhibit high expressions of collagen III, TGF-β1, MMP9, MMP13, and ADAMTS5, whereas miR-29a overexpression diminished these joint-deleterious factors. In collagenase-mediated OA pathogenesis, miR-29a-overexpressing transgenic mice showed minor responses to hyperplasia, macrophage infiltration, fibrosis, hyperangiogenesis, and VEGF expression in synovial lesions. These effects mitigated articular cartilage loss and gait aberrance of injured joints. Intra-articular administration of miR-29a precursor lessened the collagenase aggravation of excessive synovial remodeling reactions and thereby sustained joint tissue integrity. miR-29a lowered VEGF production and angiogenic activities in synovial fibroblasts through targeting the 3'-UTR of VEGF. Taken together, miR-29a deficiency exacerbated synovitis pathogenesis in the end-stage OA knees. miR-29a signaling fends off excessive synovial angiogenesis and fibrosis, which delays joint destruction. This study sheds new light on the protective effects against synovial deterioration and the therapeutic advantage of miR-29a in OA knees.