Circulating Long Non-Coding RNA GAS5 Is Overexpressed in Serum from Osteoporotic Patients and Is Associated with Increased Risk of Bone Fragility

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Sep 21;21(18):6930. doi: 10.3390/ijms21186930.


Osteoporosis (OP) is a multifactorial disorder in which environmental factors along with genetic variants and epigenetic mechanisms have been implicated. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have recently emerged as important regulators of bone metabolism and OP aetiology. In this study, we analyzed the expression level and the genetic association of lncRNA GAS5 in OP patients compared to controls. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis of GAS5 was performed on the serum of 56 OP patients and 28 healthy individuals. OP subjects were divided into three groups of analysis: 29 with fragility fractures of lumbar spine (OP_VF), 14 with fragility fractures of femoral neck (OP_FF) and 13 without fractures (OP_WF). Genotyping of the rs145204276 insertion/deletion polymorphism has also been performed by Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and direct sequencing analyses. Expression of circulating GAS5 is significantly increased in OP patients compared to controls (p < 0.01), with a statistically higher significance in fractured OP individuals vs. healthy subjects (p < 0.001). No statistically significant change was found in female OP patients; conversely, GAS5 is upregulated in the subgroup of fractured OP women sera (p < 0.01) and in all OP males (p < 0.05). Furthermore, a direct correlation between GAS5 expression level and parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentration was found in OP patients (r = 0.2930; p = 0.0389). Genetic analysis of rs145204276 revealed that the deletion allele was correlated with a higher expression of GAS5 in OP patients (0.22 ± 0.02 vs. 0.15 ± 0.01, ** p < 0.01). Our results suggest circulating GAS5 as a putative biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of OP and OP-related fractures.

Keywords: biomarker; bone fragility; epigenetics; lncRNA GAS5; osteoporosis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids / blood*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / blood*
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / blood*
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / blood*
  • Risk Factors


  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids
  • GAS5 long non-coding RNA, human
  • RNA, Long Noncoding