A natural molecule in the body discovered by an international team of scientists may be the key to countering the progression of osteoarthritis.
The findings from The Scripps Research Institute in California and the National Research Institute for Child Health and Development in Japan could one day lead to new therapies for some common diseases of aging.
The molecule the team studied, microRNA 140 (miR-140), is part of a recently discovered category of genetic molecules-"microRNAs" or "non-coding RNAs" which do not code for proteins, yet often play a vital role in gene expression.
"This is the first report showing the critical role of a specific non-coding RNA in bone development. Moreover, surprisingly, we observed that microRNA 140 acts against arthritis progression. This is among the first evidence that non-coding RNA plays a key role in age-dependent diseases," said Hiroshi Asahara, associate professor of molecular and experimental medicine at Scripps Research.
The study was published in an advanced, online issue of the journal Genes and Development.