Identification of miR-194-5p as a potential biomarker for postmenopausal osteoporosis

PeerJ. 2015 May 21:3:e971. doi: 10.7717/peerj.971. eCollection 2015.


The incidence of osteoporosis is high in postmenopausal women due to altered estrogen levels and continuous calcium loss that occurs with aging. Recent studies have shown that microRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in the development of osteoporosis. These miRNAs may be used as potential biomarkers to identify women at a high risk for developing the disease. In this study, whole blood samples were collected from 48 postmenopausal Chinese women with osteopenia or osteoporosis and pooled into six groups according to individual T-scores. A miRNA microarray analysis was performed on pooled blood samples to identify potential miRNA biomarkers for postmenopausal osteoporosis. Five miRNAs (miR-130b-3p, -151a-3p, -151b, -194-5p, and -590-5p) were identified in the microarray analysis. These dysregulated miRNAs were subjected to a pathway analysis investigating whether they were involved in regulating osteoporosis-related pathways. Among them, only miR-194-5p was enriched in multiple osteoporosis-related pathways. Enhanced miR-194-5p expression in women with osteoporosis was confirmed by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis. For external validation, a significant correlation between the expression of miR-194-5p and T-scores was found in an independent patient collection comprised of 24 postmenopausal women with normal bone mineral density, 30 postmenopausal women with osteopenia, and 32 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis (p < 0.05). Taken together, the present findings suggest that miR-194-5p may be a viable miRNA biomarker for postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Keywords: Biomarker; MicroRNA; Postmenopausal osteoporosis; miR-194.

Grants and funding

This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31301095) and Foundation of Health Department of Heilongjiang Province (No. 2010-213). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.