Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) play a key role in controlling synovial inflammation and joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The contribution of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) to RA is largely unknown. Here, we show that the lncRNA LINK-A, located mainly in cytoplasm, has higher-than-normal expression in synovial tissues and FLSs from patients with RA. Synovial LINK-A expression was positively correlated with the severity of synovitis in patients with RA. LINK-A knockdown decreased migration, invasion, and expression and secretion of matrix metalloproteinases and proinflammatory cytokines in RA FLSs. Mechanistically, LINK-A controlled RA FLS inflammation and invasion through regulation of tyrosine protein kinase 6–mediated and leucine-rich repeat kinase 2–mediated HIF-1α. On the other hand, we also demonstrate that LINK-A could bind with microRNA 1262 as a sponge to control RA FLS aggression but not inflammation. Our findings suggest that increased level of LINK-A may contribute to FLS-mediated rheumatoid synovial inflammation and aggression. LINK-A might be a potential therapeutic target for RA.
Jingnan Wang, Chuyu Shen, Ruiru Li, Cuicui Wang, Youjun Xiao, Yu Kuang, Minxi Lao, Siqi Xu, Maohua Shi, Xiaoyan Cai, Liuqin Liang, Hanshi Xu