Research Paper Volume 15, Issue 3 pp 734—747

MiR-181a-5p promotes osteogenesis by targeting BMP3

Ze Long1, , Pengcheng Dou1, , Weiliang Cai1, , Minzhi Mao1, , Ren Wu1, ,

  • 1 Department of Orthopedics, The Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, China

Received: October 4, 2022       Accepted: January 18, 2023       Published: February 3, 2023
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2023 Long 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.


High-throughput microRNA (miRNA) sequencing of osteoporosis was analyzed from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database to investigate specific microRNAs that control osteogenesis. MiR-181a-5p was differentially expressed among healthy subjects and those with osteoporosis. Inhibitors and mimics were transfected into cells to modulate miR-181a-5p levels to examine the role in MC3T3-E1 functions. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) staining and Alizarin Red S (ARS) staining were used for morphological detection, and proteins of ALP and Runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2), as osteogenesis markers, were detected. During the osteogenic differentiation of MC3T3-E1, the transcription level of miR-181a-5p was significantly increased. The inhibition of miR-181a-5p suppressed MC3T3-E1 osteogenic differentiation, whereas its overexpression functioned oppositely. Consistently, the miR-181a-5p antagomir aggravated osteoporosis in old mice. Additionally, we predicted potential target genes via TargetScan and miRDB and identified bone morphogenetic protein 3 (BMP3) as the target gene. Moreover, the reduced expression of miR-181a-5p was validated in our hospitalized osteoporotic patients. These findings have substantial implications for the strategies targeting miR-181a-5p to prevent osteoporosis and potential related fractures.


GEO: Gene Expression Omnibus; GO: Gene Ontology; CC, BP, and MF: Cellular Component, Biological Process, and Molecular Function; ALP: Alkaline phosphatase; ARS: Alizarin Red S; RUNX2: Runt-related transcription factor 2; Tb.Th: Trabecular thickness; Tb.N: Trabecular number; Tb.Sp: Trabecular separation; Tb.Pf: Trabecular pattern factor; BV/TV: Bone volume fraction; BS/TV: Bone surface density; BMP3: Bone morphogenetic protein 3; BMD: Bone Mineral Density.