LINC00311, a type of long non-coding RNA molecule, is overexpressed in patients with ankylosing spondylitis and is associated with worse treatment outcomes and higher likelihood of disease recurrence, a new study shows.
The study, “LINC00311 is overexpressed in ankylosing spondylitis and predict treatment outcomes and recurrence,” was published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory disease that mainly affects the skeletal system. AS is not only associated with chronic back pain, but also can lead to significant functional and structural impairments.
In spite of the advances that have been made regarding treatment, the prognosis of AS continues to be poor and most patients will experience disease recurrence within a short time after they have been discharged from the hospital. Therefore, there is a significant need for more accurate prognostic tools to predict the progression of AS.
The development of every disease is accompanied by changes in gene expression — the process by which information in a gene is synthesized to create a working product, like a protein.
That’s how differences in levels of certain genes also contribute to the development and/or progression of AS.
All genetic information contained within genes (DNA) is ultimately translated into proteins. However, DNA is first transformed into RNA, which is then processed to originate a protein. One specific type of RNA molecule is known as long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), which is thought to be a critical regulator of human disease development and progression.
While the function of most lncRNAs remains unclear, one recent study reported that the lncRNA LINC00311 participates in osteoporosis by regulating the differentiation (maturation) and proliferation of osteoclasts (cells that break down bone).
Because osteoporosis and AS share similar disease pathways due to the involvement of the skeletal system, researchers investigated the involvement of LINC00311 in patients with AS.
The team studied 80 AS patients who were enrolled at the Ganzhou People’s Hospital, China, from January 2016 to January 2018. The group was composed of 47 men and 33 women who were, on average, 46 years old. The control group included 80 healthy volunteers and 22 low-back-pain patients.
Compared to control participants, LINC00311 was present in higher levels in the blood plasma of AS patients and could distinguish between the two groups.
LINC00311 expression levels were positively correlated with disease activity, as determined by the ankylosing spondylitis disease activity index (BASDAI) and the ankylosing spondylitis disease activity score (ASDAS). The higher the LINC00311 levels, the higher the disease activity.
Next, researchers compared levels of LINC00311 before and after AS treatment. All patients (including those with low back pain) were treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, All patients (AS and low back pain) were treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as indomethacin (marketed as Indocin, Indocin SR and Tivorbex) and naproxen (marketed as Aleve, Naprelan, among others).
Compared to pre-treatment levels, LINC00311 expression levels significantly decreased after treatment. Importantly, during a two-year follow-up, patients who had high levels of LINC00311 showed a significantly higher rate of disease recurrence and subsequent re-hospitalization.
“LINC00311 is overexpressed in AS and predict treatment outcomes and recurrence,” the researchers wrote. “LINC00311 has clinical potentials for the diagnosis and prognosis of AS,” they added.