• microRNA;
  • human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells;
  • osteogenic differentiation;
  • proliferation;
  • microRNA-196a


The elucidation of the molecular mechanisms that govern the differentiation and proliferation of human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hASCs) could improve hASC-based cell therapy. In this study, we examined the roles of microRNA (miRNA)-196a on hASC proliferation and osteogenic differentiation. Lentiviral overexpression of miR-196a decreased hASC proliferation and enhanced osteogenic differentiation, without affecting adipogenic differentiation. Overexpression of miR-196a decreased the protein and mRNA levels of HOXC8, a predicted target of miR-196a. HOXC8 expression was decreased during osteogenic differentiation of hASCs, and this decrease in HOXC8 expression was concomitant with an increase in the level of miR-196a. In contrast, inhibition of miR-196a with 2′-O-methyl-antisense RNA increased the protein levels of HOXC8 in treated hASCs and was accompanied by increased proliferation and decreased osteogenic differentiation. The activity of a luciferase construct containing the miR-196a target site from the HOXC8 3′UTR was lower in LV-miR196a-infected hASCs than in LV-miLacZ-infected cells. RNA interference-mediated downregulation of HOXC8 in hASCs increased their proliferation and decreased their differentiation into osteogenic cells, without affecting their adipogenic differentiation. Our data indicate that miR-196a plays a role in hASC osteogenic differentiation and proliferation, which may be mediated through its predicted target, HOXC8. This study provides us with a better knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that govern hASC differentiation and proliferation.