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Cell-specific functions of miRNA in the liver

Published:October 01, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2016.09.015
      miRNAs play essential roles in virtually all cellular and biological processes including liver development, differentiation and homeostasis [
      • Szabo G.
      • Bala S.
      MicroRNAs in liver disease.
      ,
      • Di Leva G.
      • Garofalo M.
      • Croce C.M.
      MicroRNAs in cancer.
      ]. Altered expression levels of miRNAs were observed in patients with liver diseases e.g., liver steatosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) [
      • Szabo G.
      • Bala S.
      MicroRNAs in liver disease.
      ,
      • Szabo G.
      • Petrasek J.
      Inflammasome activation and function in liver disease.
      ]. Expression pattern of miRNAs are organ- and tissue-specific. In the liver, miRNAs are not homogeneously distributed but are selectively expressed and regulated in distinct hepatic cell types. For certain miRNAs, opposite regulation were described between the different liver cell compartments. As an example, expression of miR-29, one of the best studied miRNAs in liver diseases, was found to be downregulated in hepatic stellate cells (HSC) during hepatofibrogenesis, while its expression was upregulated in hepatocytes and cholangiocytes during experimental biliary atresia [
      • Roderburg C.
      • Urban G.W.
      • Bettermann K.
      • Vucur M.
      • Zimmermann H.
      • Schmidt S.
      • et al.
      Micro-RNA profiling reveals a role for miR-29 in human and murine liver fibrosis.
      ,
      • Hand N.J.
      • Horner A.M.
      • Master Z.R.
      • Boateng L.A.
      • LeGuen C.
      • Uvaydova M.
      • et al.
      MicroRNA profiling identifies miR-29 as a regulator of disease-associated pathways in experimental biliary atresia.
      ], supporting the concept of cell-specific functions of miRNAs in liver (patho-)physiology.

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