Can balneotherapy modify microRNA expression levels in osteoarthritis? A comparative study in patients with knee osteoarthritis

Authors: Giannitti C (1) , De Palma A (1,2) , Pascarelli NA (1) , Cheleschi S (1,2) , Giordano N (3) , Galeazzi M (1) , Fioravanti A (1,4)
(1) Rheumatology Unit, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Senese (2) Department of Medical Biotechnologies, Policlinico Le Scotte, University of Siena (3) Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neurosciences, Scleroderma Unit, University of Siena (4) Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, Rheumatology Unit, Policlinico Le Scotte, University of Siena
Source: Int J Biometeorol. 2017 Dec;61(12):2153-2158
DOI: 10.1007/s00484-017-1420-3 Publication date: 2017 Dec E-Publication date: Aug. 7, 2017 Availability: abstract Copyright: © ISB 2017
Language: English Countries: Italy Location: Not specified Correspondence address:


Article abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the whole-blood levels of miR-155, miR-223, miR-181a, miR-146a, and miR-let-7e in patients with bilateral knee osteoarthritis (OA) after a cycle of mud-bath therapy (MBT). Thirty-two patients with knee OA defined by the ACR criteria were included. Twenty-one patients (MBT group) were daily treated with a combination of local mud-packs at 42 °C and baths in mineral water, at 37 °C for 15 min, for 12 applications over a period of 2 weeks, in addition to standard therapy; 11 patients (control group) continued their conventional treatment alone. Global pain score evaluated by visual analog scale (VAS), WOMAC subscores, and microRNA expression were evaluated at baseline and after 2 weeks. Peripheral whole blood was collected into PAXgene™ Blood RNA tubes, stored at - 80 °C, and total RNA was extracted. The expression of miR-155, miR-223, miR-181a, miR-146a, and miR-let-7e was determined by qRT-PCR. After MBT, we observed a statistically significant improvement of clinical parameters and a significant decrease of miR-155, miR-181a, miR-146a (p < 0.001), and miR-223 (p < 0.01) expression levels. No clinical and biochemical modifications were detected in the control group. No significant variations of miR-let-7e were shown in both groups after 2 weeks. In conclusion, MBT can modify the expression of miR-155, miR-181a, miR-146a, and miR-223, which are upregulated in OA. It could be due to the heat stress and the hydrostatic pressure, since some miRNAs were found to be temperature- and mechano-responsive. Further studies are needed to better explain the mechanism of action of MBT and the role of miRNAs in OA.

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