Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(5):1428-1439. doi:10.7150/ijbs.57887 This issue


Promising diagnostic and therapeutic circRNAs for skeletal and chondral disorders

Gaoyang Chen*, Wanze Tang*, Shang Wang, Canling Long, Xiaoqin He, Dazhi Yang, Songlin Peng

Department of Spine Surgery and Institute for Orthopaedic Research, the 2nd Clinical Medical College (Shenzhen People's Hospital) of Jinan University, the First Affiliated Hospital of Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Reconstruction of Sports System, Shenzhen, 518055, China.
* Gaoyang Chen and Wanze Tang contribute equally to this work.

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Chen G, Tang W, Wang S, Long C, He X, Yang D, Peng S. Promising diagnostic and therapeutic circRNAs for skeletal and chondral disorders. Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(5):1428-1439. doi:10.7150/ijbs.57887. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) belong to a highly conserved subtype of non-coding RNAs, produced by the back-splicing of specific regions of pre-mRNA. CircRNAs have wide-ranging effects on eukaryotic physiology and pathology by acting as transcription regulators, miRNA sponges, protein sponges, and templates for translation. Skeletal and chondral disorders are the leading causes of pain and disability, especially for elders, affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Plenty of evidence have shown that circRNAs are dysregulated and play vital roles in the occurrence and progression of skeletal and chondral disorders. Herein, we systematically summarize the emerging roles and underlying molecular mechanisms of hub circRNAs in the pathogenesis of several representative skeletal and chondral disorders. Our findings may provide further insight into the mechanistic details of the role of circRNA in bone or cartilage metabolism, and highlight the promising application of circRNAs in serving as potential diagnostic or therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of skeletal and chondral disorders.

Keywords: Circular RNAs, skeletal and chondral disorders, regulatory mechanism, biomarker, therapeutic target.