MicroRNA-221 promotes cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation by regulation of ZFPM2 in osteoblasts

Bone fracture is a common medical condition, which may occur due to traumatic injury or disease-related conditions. Evidence suggests that microRNAs (miRNAs) can regulate osteoblast differentiation and function. In this study, we explored the effects and mechanism of miR-221 on the growth and migration of osteoblasts using MC3T3-E1 cells. The expression levels of miR-221 in the different groups were measured by qRT-PCR. Then, miR-221 mimic and inhibitor were transfected into MC3T3-E1 cells, and cell viability and migration were measured using the CCK-8 assay and the Transwell migration assay. Additionally, the expression levels of differentiation-related factors (Runx2 and Ocn) and ZFPM2 were measured by qRT-PCR. Western blot was used to measure the expression of cell cycle-related proteins, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related proteins, ZFPM2, and Wnt/Notch, and Smad signaling pathway proteins. miR-221 was significantly up-regulated in the patients with lumbar compression fracture (LCM) and trochanteric fracture (TF). miR-221 promoted ALP, Runx2, and OPN expressions in MC3T3-E1 cells. miR-221 overexpression significantly increased cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, and matrix mineralization, whereas suppression of miR-221 reversed these effects. Additionally, the results displayed that ZFPM2 was a direct target gene of miR-221, and overexpression of ZFPM2 reversed the promoting effects of miR-221 overexpression on osteoblasts. Mechanistic study revealed that overexpression of miR-221 inactivated the Wnt/Notch and Smad signaling pathways by regulating ZFPM2 expression. We drew the conclusions that miR-221 overexpression promoted osteoblast proliferation, migration, and differentiation by regulation of ZFPM2 expression and deactivating the Wnt/Notch and Smad signaling pathways.