Aim: Cruciate ligaments (CLs) of the knee joint are commonly injured following trauma or ageing. MicroRNAs (miRs) are potential therapeutic targets in musculoskeletal disorders. This study aimed to 1) identify if wild-stock house (WSH) mice are an appropriate model to study age-related changes of the knee joint and 2) investigate expression of miRs in ageing murine CLs. Methods: Knee joints were collected from 6 and 24 months old C57BL/6 and WSH mice (Mus musculus domesticus) for histological analysis. RNA extraction and qPCR gene expression were performed on CLs in 6, 12, 24, and 30 month WSH old mice. Expression of miR targets in CLs was determined, followed by analysis of predicted mRNA target genes and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. Results: Higher CL and knee OARSI histological scores were found in 24 month old WSH mice compared to 6 and 12 month old C57BL/6 and 6 month old WSH mice (p< 0.05). miR-29a and miR-34a were upregulated in 30 month-old WSH mice in comparison to 6, 12 and 24-month-old WSH mice (p<0.05). Ingenuity Pathway Analysis on miR-29a and 34a targets was associated with inflammation through interleukins, TGFβ and Notch genes and p53 signalling. Collagen type I alpha 1 chain (COL1A1) correlated negatively with both miR-29a (r= -0.35) and miR-34a (r= -0.33). Conclusion: The findings of this study support WSH house mice as an accelerated ageing model of the murine knee joint. This study also indicated that miR-29a and 34a may be important regulators of COL1A1 gene expression in murine CLs.

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