Osteoporosis is a prevalent systemic skeletal disorder entailing bone fragility and increased fracture risk, often emerging in post-menopausal life. Emerging evidence implicates the dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) in the progression of osteoporosis. This study investigated the effect of miR-199a-3p on osteoporosis and its underlying mechanism. We first examplished an ovariectomized (OVX)-induced rat osteoporosis model, and then isolated mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from bone marrow of the model rats. The overexpression and knock down of miR-199a-3p were conducted in OVX rats and MSCs to verify the role of miR-199a-3p on MSC differentiation. Calcium nodules were measured using alizarin red S (ARS) staining. RT-qPCR and Western blot assay were performed to measure the expression of miR-199a-3p, Kdm3a and osteogenic differentiation-related markers in rat tissues and cells. The correlation between miR-199a-3p and Kdm3a was confirmed using dual-luciferase reporter assay. The enrichment of Kdm3a at the Erk2 and Klf2 promoter was assessed using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay. Isolated MSCs were positive for CD29, CD44, CD90, and CD45, suggesting successful isolation of MSCs. There was increased expression of miR-199a-3p and inhibited osteogenic differentiation in OVX rats. Kdm3a was negatively targeted by miR-199a-3p. Our results also demonstrated that Kdm3a elevated the expression of Erk2 and Erk2 by promoting Erk2 and Klf2 demethylation, which further contributed to osteogenic differentiation. Overall, our results revealed a regulatory network of miR-199a-3p in osteogenic differentiation, highlighting miR-199a-3p as a potential target for therapeutic interventions in osteoporosis.

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