During the aging process, impaired osteoblastic function is one key factor of imbalanced bone formation and age-related bone loss. The aim of this study is to explore the differentially expressed genes in normal and aged osteoblasts and to identify genes potentially involved in age-related alteration in bone physiology. Based on next generation sequencing and bioinformatics analysis, 12 differentially expressed microRNAs and 22 differentially expressed genes were identified. Up-regulation of miR-204-5p was validated in an array of osteoporotic hip fracture in the Gene Expression Omnibus database (GSE74209). The putative targets for miR-204-5p were Kruppel-like factor 7 (KLF7) and SRY-box 11 (SOX11). Ingenuity Pathway Analysis identified SOX11, involved in osteoarthritis pathway and differentiation of osteoblasts, together with miR-204-5p, a potential upstream regulator, suggesting the critical role of miR-204-5p-SOX11 regulation in the aging process of human bones. In addition, as semaphorin 3A (SEMA3A) and ephrin type-A receptor 5 (EPHA5) were involved in nervous system related biological functions, we postulated a potential linkage between SEMA3A, EPHA5 and development of neurogenic heterotopic ossification. Our findings implicate new candidate genes in the diagnosis of geriatric musculoskeletal disorders, and provide novel insights that may contribute to the elaboration of new biomarkers for neurogenic heterotopic ossification.
Keywords: aging osteoblasts; bioinformatics; messenger RNA; microRNA; next-generation sequencing.