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Characterization of microRNA expression profiles in patients with intervertebral disc degeneration

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Intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is associated with lower back pain and is a global burden with severe healthcare and socioeconomic consequences. However, the underlying mechanisms of IDD remain largely unelucidated. Accumulating evidence has indicasted that newly defined gene regulators, microRNAs (miRNAs), play a vital role in neurodegenerative, pathophysiological and certain reproductive disorders. To characterize the differential miRNA expression profiles between IDD and spinal cord injury, specimens from 3 patients with IDD and 3 with spinal cord injury were selected for microarray analysis. Total RNA from these 6 specimens was extracted and subjected to global miRNA expression analysis using the Exiqon miRCURY™ LNA Array (v.16.0). The microarray data were then validated by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). In addition, bioinformatics analysis was performed to investigate the dysregulated miRNA target genes and signaling pathways involved. Among the miRNAs analyzed, 25 miRNAs were found to be upregulated and 26 were found to be downregulated in the IDD group compared with the spinal cord injury group. The qRT-PCR results validated the microarray data. Bioinformatics analysis indicated that the signaling pathways most likely to be controlled by these miRNAs were the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR; ErbB) and Wnt pathways. Our results demonstrated that the miRNA expression in patients with IDD differed significantly from that in patients who sustained injury to the intervertebral disc. Our data indicate that the dysregulated miRNAs control the signaling pathways important for the maintenance of IDD. Further studies on miRNA target gene identification and biological functions may address the specific regulatory mechanisms of miRNAs in IDD, and may provide valuable insight into the diagnosis and treatment of IDD.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Orthopedics, The Second Affiliated Hospital, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710004, P.R. China 2: Key Laboratory of Environment and Gene Related Diseases, Department of Public Health, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710061, P.R. China

Publication date: January 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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