MicroRNA-29a represses osteoclast formation and protects against osteoporosis by regulating PCAF-mediated RANKL and CXCL12

Wei Shiung Lian, Jih Yang Ko, Yu Shan Chen, Huei Jing Ke, Chin Kuei Hsieh, Chung Wen Kuo, Shao Yu Wang, Bo Wun Huang, Jung Ge Tseng, Feng Sheng Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

48 Scopus citations


Osteoporosis deteriorates bone mass and biomechanical strength, becoming a life-threatening cause to the elderly. MicroRNA is known to regulate tissue remodeling; however, its role in the development of osteoporosis remains elusive. In this study, we uncovered that silencing miR-29a expression decreased mineralized matrix production in osteogenic cells, whereas osteoclast differentiation and pit formation were upregulated in bone marrow macrophages as co-incubated with the osteogenic cells in transwell plates. In vivo, decreased miR-29a expression occurred in ovariectomy-mediated osteoporotic skeletons. Mice overexpressing miR-29a in osteoblasts driven by osteocalcin promoter (miR-29aTg/OCN) displayed higher bone mineral density, trabecular volume and mineral acquisition than wild-type mice. The estrogen deficiency-induced loss of bone mass, trabecular morphometry, mechanical properties, mineral accretion and osteogenesis of bone marrow mesenchymal cells were compromised in miR-29aTg/OCN mice. miR-29a overexpression also attenuated the estrogen loss-mediated excessive osteoclast surface histopathology, osteoclast formation of bone marrow macrophages, receptor activator nuclear factor-κ ligand (RANKL) and C–X–C motif chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12) expression. Treatment with miR-29a precursor improved the ovariectomy-mediated skeletal deterioration and biomechanical property loss. Mechanistically, miR-29a inhibited RANKL secretion in osteoblasts through binding to 3′-UTR of RANKL. It also suppressed the histone acetyltransferase PCAF-mediated acetylation of lysine 27 in histone 3 (H3K27ac) and decreased the H3K27ac enrichment in CXCL12 promoters. Taken together, miR-29a signaling in osteogenic cells protects bone tissue from osteoporosis through repressing osteoclast regulators RANKL and CXCL12 to reduce osteoclastogenic differentiation. Arrays of analyses shed new light on the miR-29a regulation of crosstalk between osteogenic and osteoclastogenic cells. We also highlight that increasing miR-29a function in osteoblasts is beneficial for bone anabolism to fend off estrogen deficiency-induced excessive osteoclastic resorption and osteoporosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number705
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number10
StatePublished - 01 10 2019
Externally publishedYes

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© 2019, The Author(s).


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