Micro RNAs as biomarkers in OA


OA is still classified based on changes in joint tissues that are visible on conventional radiographs. This scoring system, however, does not accommodate emerging information about disease mechanisms.

Our proposal aimed to identify and validate miRNAs as future blood biomarkers for monitoring OA pathophysiological processes in cartilage via a 2 step approach:

  • Identify miRNA signatures reporting on underlying disease processes and predicting severe OA of the hip and/or knee joint
  • Validation and confirmation in additional cohorts across Europe and towards OA in additional joints such as hand OA.

Facts and figures

Project lead
I Meulenbelt
UMC Leiden
FOREUM pump prime grant: € 75.000

Meet the team

I Meulenbelt
UMC Leiden
C Beyer
University Erlangen
C Ospelt
University Hospital Zurich


Notably, the results of the pilot study appeared a stepping stone in accessing larger grant money which concurrently established extension of our research question; a high quality miRNA sequencing data set was established in overlapping human samples of cartilage and plasma. Preliminary data analyses showed promising correlation of miRNAs detected in plasma and cartilage, suggesting that circulating miRNA could indeed report on cartilage specific processes. As such the results of the project are bound to deliver biomarkers that reflect diversity in OA pathophysiology with difficult diagnosis.


R.C. Almeida, Y. Ramos, A. Mahfouz, E. Houtman, N. Lakenberg, G. Kloppenburg, P. Slagboom, R.G. Nelissen, M. Reinders, I. Meulenbelt. Integrative approach uncover microRNA interactome dysregulation in osteoarthritis cartilage. 315 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2018.02.353
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