MicroRNA-672-5p Identified during Weaning Reverses Osteopenia and Sarcopenia in Ovariectomized Mice

Mol Ther Nucleic Acids. 2019 Mar 1;14:536-549. doi: 10.1016/j.omtn.2019.01.002. Epub 2019 Jan 10.


Post-menopausal condition augments the biological aging process, characterized by multiple metabolic disorders in which bone loss is the most prevalent outcome and usually coupled with sarcopenia. Coexistence of such associated pathogenesis have much worse health outcomes, compared to individuals with osteoporosis only. Pre- and post-natal bone development demands calcium from mother to fetus during pregnancy and lactation leading to a significant maternal skeletal loss. It follows an anabolic phase around weaning during which there is a notable recovery of the maternal skeleton. Here, we have studied the therapeutic effect of microRNA-672-5p identified during weaning when it is predominantly expressed, in ovariectomized mice for both osteopenia and sarcopenia. miR-672-5p induced osteoblast differentiation and mineralization. These actions were mediated through inhibition of Smurf1 with enhanced Runx2 transcriptional activation. In vivo, miR-672-5p significantly increased osteoblastogenesis and mineralization, thus reversing bone loss caused by ovariectomy. It also improved bone-mineral density, load-bearing capacity, and bone quality. Sarcopenia was also alleviated by miR-672-5p, as we observed increased cross-sectional area and Feret's diameter of muscle fibers. We hypothesize that elevated miR-672-5p expression has therapeutic efficacy in estrogen-deficiency-induced osteopenia along with sarcopenia.

Keywords: micro-computed tomography; microRNA-672-5p; osteopenia; sarcopenia; trabecular microarchitecture.