RNA sequencing reveals interacting key determinants of osteoarthritis acting in subchondral bone and articular cartilage
Objective: The aim of this study was to identify key determinants of the interactive osteoarthritis (OA) pathophysiological processes of subchondral bone and cartilage. Methods: We performed RNA sequencing on macroscopically preserved and lesioned OA subchondral bone of patients that underwent joint replacement surgery due to OA (N=24 pairs; 6 hips, 18 knees, RAAK-study). Unsupervised hierarchical clustering and differential expression analyses were performed. Results were combined with
... mbined with previously identified, differentially expressed genes in cartilage (partly overlapping samples) as well as with recently identified OA risk genes. Results: We identified 1569 genes significantly differentially expressed between lesioned and preserved subchondral bone, including CNTNAP2 (FC=2.4, FDR=3.36x10-5) and STMN2 (FC=9.6, FDR=3.36x10-3). Among the identified genes, 305 were also differentially expressed and with same direction of effects in cartilage, including IL11 and CHADL, recently acknowledged OA susceptibility genes. Upon differential expression analysis stratifying for joint site, we identified 509 genes exclusively differentially expressed in subchondral bone of the knee, such as KLF11 and WNT4. These exclusive knee genes were enriched for involvement in epigenetic processes, characterized by for instance HIST1H3J and HIST1H3H. Conclusion: To our knowledge, we are the first to report on differential gene expression patterns of paired OA subchondral bone tissue using RNA sequencing. Among the most consistently differentially expressed genes with OA pathophysiology in both bone and cartilage were IL11 and CHADL. As these genes were recently also identified as robust OA risk genes they classify as attractive druggable targets acting on two OA disease relevant tissues.