Introduction: Increased expression of aggrecanase-1 (ADAMTS-4) has emerged as an important factor in osteoarthritis (OA) and other joint diseases. This study aimed to determine whether the expression of ADAMTS-4 in human chondrocytes is regulated by miRNA.
Methods: MiRNA targets were identified using bioinformatics. Chondrocytes were isolated from knee cartilage and treated with interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β). Gene expression was quantified using TaqMan assays and protein production was determined by immunoblotting. Luciferase reporter assay was used to verify interaction between miRNA and target messenger RNA (mRNA).
Results: In silico analysis predicted putative target sequence of miR-125b on ADAMTS-4. MiR-125b was expressed in both normal and OA chondrocytes, with significantly lower expression in OA chondrocytes than in normal chondrocytes. Furthermore, IL-1β-induced upregulation of ADAMTS-4 was suppressed by overexpression of miR-125b in human OA chondrocytes. In the luciferase reporter assay, mutation of the putative miR-125b binding site in the ADAMTS-4 3'UTR abrogated the suppressive effect of miR125.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that miR-125b plays an important role in regulating the expression of ADAMTS-4 in human chondrocytes and this identifies miR-125b as a novel therapeutic target in OA.