Inhibition of miR-199b-5p reduces pathological alterations in Osteoarthritis by tar-geting Fzd6 and Gcnt2

  1. Acupuncture and Tuina College, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, Sichuan, 610075, China
  2. Chongqing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chongqing, 400011, China
  3. Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, 02115, USA
  4. Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138, USA
  5. Departments of Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, 02115, USA
  6. Acupuncture & Chronobiology Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Chengdu, Sichuan, 610075, China


  • Reviewing Editor
    Yousef Abu-Amer
    Washington University in St. Louis, St Louis, United States of America
  • Senior Editor
    Hiroshi Takayanagi
    The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Reviewer #1 (Public Review):


In this manuscript, the authors observed that miR-199b-5p is elevated in osteoarthritis (OA) patients. They also found that overexpression of miR-199b-5p induced OA-like pathological changes in normal mice and inhibiting miR-199b-5p alleviated symptoms in knee OA mice. They concluded that miR-199b-5p is not only a potential micro-target for knee OA but also provides a potential strategy for the future identification of new molecular drugs.


The data are generated from both human patients and animal models.


The data presented in this manuscript is not solid enough to support their conclusions. There are several questions that need to be addressed to improve the quality of this study.

The following questions that need to be addressed to improve the quality of the study.

1. Exosomes were characterized by electron microscopy and western blot analysis (for CD9, 264 CD63, and CD81). However, figure S1 only showed two sample WB results and there is no positive and negative control as well as the confused not clear WB figure.

2. The sequencing of miRNAs in serum exosomes showed that 88 miRNAs were upregulated and 89 miRNAs were downregulated in KOA patients compared with the control group based on fold change > 1.5 and p < 0.05. Figure 2 legend did not clearly elucidate what those represent and why the authors chose those five miRNAs to further validate although they did mention it with several words in line 108 'based on the p-value and exosomal'.

3. In Figure 3 legend and methods, the authors did not mention how they performed the cell viability assay. What cell had been used? How long were they treated and all the details? Other figure legends have the same problem without detailed information.

4. The authors claimed that Gcnt2 and Fzd6 are two target genes of miR-199b-5p. However, there is no convincing evidence such as western blot to support their bioinformatics prediction.

5. To verify the binding site on 3'UTR of two potential targets, the authors designed a mouse sequence for luciferase assay, but not sure if it is the same when using a human sequence.

Reviewer #2 (Public Review):


The authors identified miR-199b-5p as a potential OA target gene using serum exosomal small RNA-seq from human healthy and OA patients. Their RNA-seq results were further compared with publicly available datasets to validate their finding of miR-199b-5p. In vitro chondrocyte culture with miR-199b-5p mimic/inhibitor and in vivo animal models were used to evaluate the function of miR-199b-5p in OA. The possible genes that were potentially regulated by miR-199b-5p were also predicted (i.e., Fzd6 and Gcnt2) and then validated by using Luciferase assays.


1. Strong in vivo animal models including pain tests.
2. Validates the binding of miR-199b-5p with Fzd6 and binding of miR-199b-5p with Gcnt2.


1. The authors may overinterpret their results. The current work shows the possible bindings between miR-199b-5p and Fzd6 as well as bindings between miR-199b-5p and Gcnt2. However, whether miR-199b-5p truly functions through Fzd6 and/or Gcnt2 requires genetic knockdown of Fzd6 and Gcnt2 in the presence of miR-199b-5p.
2. In vitro chondrocyte experiments were conducted in a 2D manner, which led to chondrocyte de-differentiation and thus may not represent the chondrocyte response to the treatments.
3. There is a lack of description for bioinformatic analysis.
4. There are several errors in figure labeling.

  1. Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  2. Wellcome Trust
  3. Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
  4. Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation