Genetic alterations are major contributing factors in the development of osteoporosis. Osteoblasts and adipocytes share a common origin, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), and their genetic determinants might be important in the relationship between osteoporosis and obesity. In the present study, we aimed to isolate differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in osteoporosis and normal controls using human MSCs, and elucidate the common pathways and genes related to osteoporosis and adipogenesis. Human MSCs were obtained from the bone marrow of femurs from postmenopausal women during orthopedic surgeries. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) was carried out using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology. DEGs were identified using RNA-seq data. Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) was used to elucidate the common pathway related to osteoporosis and adipogenesis. Candidate genes for the common pathway were validated with other independent osteoporosis and obese subjects using RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) analysis. Fifty-three DEGs were identified between postmenopausal osteoporosis patients and normal bone mineral density (BMD) controls. Most of the genetic changes were related to the differentiation of cells. The nuclear receptor subfamily 4 group A (NR4A) family was identified as possible common genes related to osteogenesis and adipogenesis. The expression level of the mRNA of NR4A1 was significantly higher in osteoporosis patients than in controls (p=0.018). The expression level of the mRNA of NR4A2 was significantly higher in obese patients than in controls (p=0.041). Some genetic changes in MSCs are involved in the pathophysiology of osteoporosis. The NR4A family might comprise common genes related to osteoporosis and obesity.
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