MicroRNA miR-18a-3p promotes osteoporosis and possibly contributes to spinal fracture by inhibiting the glutamate AMPA receptor subunit 1 gene (GRIA1)

Bioengineered. 2022 Jan;13(1):370-382. doi: 10.1080/21655979.2021.2005743.


The promoting role that miR-18a-3p plays in osteoporosis (OP) has been previously described. However, the detailed mechanisms remain unclear. Bone tissues were collected from healthy patients, OP patients, and patients with osteoporotic spinal fractures. An osteogenic differentiation of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSCs) was constructed to detect the expression of miR-18a-3p and glutamate AMPA receptor subunit 1 (GRIA1). Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and a qRT-PCR analysis were used to detect ALP content, alizarin red S staining was used to detect calcium deposition, and qRT-PCR was used to evaluate runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2), osteocalcin (OCN), and osteopontin (OPN) expression levels. A dual-luciferase reporter and RNA pull-down assay was used to verify the targeted correlation between miR-18a-3p and GRIA1. We observed an increase in miR-18a-3p expression and a decrease in GRIA1 expression in OP and osteoporotic vertebral fracture patients. Upregulation of miR-18a-3p restrained the activity and expression of ALP in hBMSCs, inhibited the expression of RUNX2, OCN, and OPN, and inhibited calcium deposition. Knockdown of miR-18a-3p or upregulation of GRIA1 promoted osteogenic differentiation. Our findings indicate that miR-18a-3p promotes OP progression by regulating GRIA1 expression, suggesting that targeting miR-18a-3p/GRIA1 may be a therapeutic strategy for OP.

Keywords: GRIA1; miR-18a-3p; osteoporosis; spinal fracture.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / genetics
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteogenesis
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / genetics*
  • Receptors, AMPA / genetics*
  • Spinal Fractures / genetics*
  • Up-Regulation*
  • Young Adult


  • MIRN18A microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • glutamate receptor ionotropic, AMPA 1

Grants and funding

The author(s) reported there is no funding associated with the work featured in this article.