Research Paper Volume 14, Issue 8 pp 3400—3415

Circular RNA circ_0000423 regulates cartilage ECM synthesis via circ_0000423/miRNA-27b-3p/MMP-13 axis in osteoarthritis

Xing Li1,2,3, *, , Chaofan Xie4, *, , Fangjun Xiao2,3, , Haitao Su1,2,3, , Zhen Li1,2,3, , Jiaxian Weng2,3, , Yongming Huang1,2,3, , Peiheng He5, ,

  • 1 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
  • 2 Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
  • 3 Lingnan Medical Research Center of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
  • 4 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, The Eighth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
  • 5 Department of Joint Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
* Equal contribution

Received: January 22, 2022       Accepted: March 28, 2022       Published: April 19, 2022
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2022 Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Circular RNA (circRNA) is related to many human diseases including osteoarthritis (OA). Our research purpose was to show that functional circRNAs have a role in the pathogenesis of OA, while also identifying potential circRNA that bind to miRNA-27b-3p. Microarray analysis was used to evaluate the expression of CircRNA in OA and normal cartilage. The role and functional mechanism of Circ_0000423 up-regulation were detected in OA and verified in vitro and in vivo. RNA transfection, qRT-PCR, Western blot analysis, immunofluorescence, and dual-luciferase assays were used to investigate the interaction between Circ_0000423 and miRNA-27b-3p in vitro. The roles of Circ_0000423 were discussed in vivo. Our results discovered 11 down-regulated circRNAs and 101 up-regulated circRNAs between control and OA tissues, and confirmed that Circ_0000423 an increase significantly in OA tissues by evaluating the different circRNAs expressions. Meanwhile, luciferase analysis confirmed Circ_0000423 can be directly targeted by miRNA-27b-3p and act as a miRNA-27b-3p sponge. Circ_0000423 can influence MMP-13 and collagen II expression by targeting miRNA-27b-3p expression as ceRNA in OA. Furthermore, AAV-shRNA-Circ 0000423 intra-articular injection slows the progression of OA by decreasing articular cartilage destruction and erosion, joint surface fibrosis, osteophyte formation, MMP-13 expression, and increasing collagen II expression in the articular cartilage of ACLT-induced OA mice model. These findings confirmed that the Circ_0000423-miRNA-27b-3p-MMP-13 axis could affect the pathogenesis of OA which might lead to a novel target for diagnostic molecular biological indicators and potential OA treatments.


OA: Osteoarthritis; circRNA: Circular RNA; ACLT: anterior cruciate ligament transection; BV: bone volume; BV/TV: bone volume/total tissue volume; Tb. N: trabecular number; Tb. Th: trabecular thickness; Tb. Sp: trabecular separation; H&E: hematoxylin and eosin; S&O: Safranin O-fast green; OARSI: The Osteoarthritis Research Society International; ECM: extracellular matrix.