The Department of Orthopedics, PUMCH, after 12 years of research, was the world first to propose and prove that irregularity in bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) is the core cause of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). It located the role of an LncRNA--“LncAIS” in its occurrence, and expects to provide theoretical base for early diagnosis and genetic consultation. The project, led by Associate Professor Zhuang Qianyu, won the first prize of “Future Star”, part of the hospital’s 2018 medical achievements awards.
AIS has an occurrence rate of 2%~3%, in which each vertebral body grows normally but put together they form a mysterious spiral, a deformity that seriously affects youth health. The Department, as early as at the beginning of the 21st century, was the world first to put forward PUMC classification that covers spinal deformities. In 2006, guided by Academician Qiu Guixing and Academician Shen Yan and supported by Professor Zhang Jianguo, Associate Professor Zhuang Qianyu carried out further clinical and basic study on the cause of AIS.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stem cells found in bone marrow that are important for making and repairing skeletal tissues, such as cartilage, bone and the fat found in bone marrow. The bone mass reduction and abnormal growth in AIS fit with unbalanced bone development caused by BMSC irregularities. The Department, based on its years of clinical experience, put forward the hypothesis that irregular BMSCs is an important cause of the occurrence, development of AIS and the bone mass reduction that follows.
Since 2006, the Department, through comparing AIS and healthy groups at various levels, was the world first to construct a differential protein profiling of AIS stem cells, and proposed that some key proteins might play an important role in the occurrence and development of AIS. Through further integration of multi-dimensional evidence and cooperation with Professor Fan Zusen’s lab, CAS, the Department finally located at the center of differential data a new LncRNA (ENST00000453347), and proved its remarkable decrease in BMSCs of AIS patients, which leads to failure of normal osteogenic differentiation. The establishment of this pathway explains bone mass reduction and unbalanced bone development common in AIS patients, and might serve an important factor in the occurrence and development of AIS.
The Department named this LncRNA after the disease: LncAIS. The findings were published in Cell Death and Differentiation (IF 8), as well as in Spine and The Spine Journal. Academician Qiu Guixing and Professor Zhang Jianguo spoke highly of the results, believing that it might provide a new marker and target for early diagnosis and treatment of AIS, and marks a breakthrough in the international study of AIS causes.