On April 8, 2019, a research article titled “The Long Noncoding RNA Lnc-ob1 Facilitates Bone Formation by Upregulating Osterix in Osteoblasts” was published online in Nature Metabolism by a team of Chinese scientists, reporting a remarkable achievement in the field of basic research on osteoporosis in China. It is the first time that a team of Chinese scholars publishes research article in this journal. They made use of big data to find a novel type of molecular regulating bone formation, and discover and verify a drug target for the treatment of osteoporosis.
The team of Wang Xiaogang from Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Big Data-Based Precision Medicine of Beihang University cooperated with the team of Sun Yao and Wang Zuolin from the Affiliated Stomatology Hospital of Tongji University, the team of Zhang Gong from College of Life Science and Technology of Jinan University and some other teams to conduct the research. They spent five years tackling key problems and adopting the path of big data and big science, and obtained original research results. The research was reported by some biomedical media such as iNature and Bioart, arousing extensive concern of the academe. It is evaluated as a milestone of major research progress.
With the acceleration of aging of Chinese population, the osteoporosis incidence in people over 50 years old is as high as 19.2%. Parathyroid hormone (PTH), the only approved clinical drug that can effectively promote bone formation in clinics at present, has drawbacks such as two-year useful life, insensitivity to fracture treatment and potential risk of causing osteosarcoma. Therefore, new strategies and mechanisms are urgently needed to solve the difficulties in the development of bone-forming drugs. This research finds a long noncoding RNA lnc-ob1 with osteoblast-specific knock-in that could enhance bone formation, and realizes that lnc-ob1 specifically in osteoblasts confers resistance to ovariectomy-induced osteoporosis in mice. These findings reveal the significant role of lncRNAs in bone formation, and demonstrate the bone-tissue-specific lncRNA as a potential strategy for the treatment of osteoporosis.
In recent years, the team of Wang Xiaogang has cooperated with the team of Sun Yao and published a series of researches in noncoding RNA s’ regulation of hard tissue development and mineralization, focusing on the technology of noncoding RNA therapy targets and targeted therapy related to hard tissue diseases. The previous results were published in Nature Medicine, Nature Communication, ACS Nano, Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Journal of Dental Research and other international authoritative journals. The research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, National Key R&D Program of China, and Beihang top youth program, etc.
The research article:
Reported by Lin Ouya
Reviewed by Liu Yan
Edited by Jia Aiping
Translated by Lu Baihui