Identification of long non-coding RNAs expressed in knee and hip osteoarthritic cartilage

B. Ajekigbe, K. Cheung, Y. Xu, A. J. Skelton, A. Panagiotopoulos, J. Soul, T. E. Hardingham, D. J. Deehan, M. J. Barter, D. A. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) are emerging as key regulators in gene expression; however, little is known about the lincRNA expression changes that occur in osteoarthritis (OA). Here we aimed to define a transcriptome of lncRNAs in OA cartilage, specifically comparing the lincRNA transcriptome of knee and hip cartilage. Method: RNA-seq was performed on nucleic acid extracted from hip cartilage from patients undergoing joint replacement surgery because of either OA (n = 10) or because of a neck of femur fracture (NOF; n = 6). After transcript alignment, counts were performed using Salmon and differential expression for ENSEMBL lincRNAs determined using DESeq2. Hip RNA-seq lincRNA expression was compared to a knee dataset (ArrayExpress; E-MTAB-4304). ChIP-seq data from ENCODE was used to determine whether lincRNAs were associated with promoters (plncRNA) or unidirectional enhancer-like regulatory elements (elncRNAs). Results: Our analysis of the hip transcriptome identified 1692 expressed Transcripts Per Million (TPM ≥1) Ensembl lincRNAs, of which 198 were significantly (FDR ≤0.05) differentially expressed in OA vs normal (NOF) cartilage. Similar analysis of knee cartilage transcriptome identified 648 Emsembl lincRNAs with 93 significantly (FDR ≤0.05) differentially expressed in intact vs damaged cartilage. In total, 1834 lincRNAs were expressed in both hip and knee cartilage, with a highly significant correlation in expression between the two cartilages. Conclusion: This is the first study to use RNA-seq to map and compare the lincRNA transcriptomes of hip and knee cartilage. We propose that lincRNAs expressed selectively in cartilage, or showing differential expression in OA, will play a role in cartilage homoeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Early online date3 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Cartilage
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • lincRNA
  • Non-coding RNA
  • RNA-seq


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