Research Papers:

Differentially expressed mRNAs, lncRNAs, and miRNAs with associated co-expression and ceRNA networks in ankylosing spondylitis

Chen Zhang, Chen Wang, Zhenyu Jia, Wenwen Tong, Delin Liu, Chongru He, Xuan Huang and Weidong Xu _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:113543-113557. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22708

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Chen Zhang1,*, Chen Wang1,*, Zhenyu Jia1,*, Wenwen Tong1, Delin Liu1, Chongru He1, Xuan Huang1 and Weidong Xu1

1Department of Orthopedics, Changhai Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Weidong Xu, email: [email protected]

Xuan Huang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: ankylosing spondylitis; microarray; competing endogenous RNA; long noncoding RNA; miRNA

Received: September 21, 2017     Accepted: October 29, 2017     Published: November 27, 2017


Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by systemic inflammation and pathological osteogenesis. However, the genetic etiology of AS remains largely unknown. This study aimed to explore the potential role of coding and noncoding genes in the genetic mechanism of AS. Using microarray analyses, this study comprehensively compared lncRNA, microRNA, and mRNA profiles in hip joint ligament tissues from patients with AS and controls. A total of 661 lncRNAs, 574 mRNAs, and 22 microRNAs were differentially expressed in patients with AS compared with controls. Twenty-two of these genes were then validated using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Gene ontology and pathway analyses were performed to explore the principal functions of differentially expressed genes. The pathways were involved mainly in immune regulation, intercellular signaling, osteogenic differentiation, protein synthesis, and degradation. Gene signal transduction network, coding–noncoding co-expression network, and competing endogenous RNA expression network were constructed using bioinformatics methods. Then, two miRNAs, miR-17-5p and miR-27b-3p, that could increase the osteogenic differentiation potentials of ligament fibroblasts were identified. Finally, differentially expressed, five lncRNAs, four miRNAs, and five mRNAs were validated using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. These results suggested that mRNAs, lncRNAs, and microRNAs were involved in AS pathogenesis. The findings might help characterize the pathogenesis of AS and provide novel therapeutic targets for patients with AS in the future.

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