Fluoride Action Network



Endemic fluorosis remains a major public health issue in many countries. Fluoride can cause abnormalities in osteoblast proliferation and activation, leading to skeletal fluorosis. However, its detailed molecular mechanism remains unclear. Based on a previous study, the aim of this study is to explore the role of miRNA in osteoblast activation of skeletal fluorosis via targeting of Cyclin D1.


A population study of coal-burning fluorosis and in vitro experiments were performed in this study. Urine fluoride (UF) concentrations of the participants were determined using a national standardized ion selective electrode approach. Based on our previous miRNA sequence results, bioinformatic analysis was used to predict miR-4755-5p targeting Cyclin D1. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) was used to verify the expression of miR-4755-5p. The expression of Cyclin D1 mRNA was detected by qRT-PCR. The expression of Cyclin D1 protein was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blotting, respectively. Cell viability was detected by CCK-8 method. The distribution of the cell cycle was analyzed by flow cytometry. The alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and bone Gla protein (BGP) content were detected by micronutrient enzymes standard method and ELISA. The target binding between miR-4755-5p and Cyclin D1 was verified using dual-luciferase reporter assay.


In the fluoride-exposed population, the results showed that with the increase in UF content, the expression of miR-4755-5p decreased gradually, while the mRNA transcription and protein expression of Cyclin D1 increased gradually. The relative miR-4755-5p expression showed a negative correlation with Cyclin D1 expression. Subsequently, in human osteoblasts treated with sodium fluoride (NaF), the results also showed that NaF caused low expression of miR-4755-5p and increased expression of Cyclin D1. Further, the results of miR-4755-5p mimic transfection confirmed that under the action of NaF, miR-4755-5p overexpression reduced Cyclin D1 protein expression within osteoblasts and further inhibited cell proliferation and activation. Simultaneously, luciferase reporter assays verified that Cyclin D1 was the miR-4755-5p direct target.


The results demonstrate that fluoride exposure induced the downregulation of miR-4755-5p and downregulated miR-4755-5p promoted fluoride-induced osteoblast activation by increasing Cyclin D1 protein expression. This study sheds new light on biomarkers and potential treatment for endemic fluorosis.

*Original abstract online at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtemb.2020.126626