Background: Circulating miRNA-34a is increased in blood of patients with different liver diseases when compared to healthy controls. However, the origin of miRNA-34a and its possible relationship with hemodynamics and outcome in cirrhotic patients with portal hypertension is unknown. We analyzed the levels of miRNA-34a in cirrhotic patients with severe portal hypertension.
Methods: We included 60 cirrhotic patients receiving TIPS for prevention of rebleeding and/or therapy-refractory ascites. miRNA-34a levels were measured using qPCR and normalized by SV-40 in the portal and hepatic venous blood of these patients taken at TIPS procedure. Hemodynamic and clinical parameters were assessed before TIPS and during follow-up.
Results: Levels of miRNA-34a were higher in the hepatic vein than in the portal vein. Circulating miRNA-34a in the hepatic vein correlated with ALT, CHE and sodium excretion after TIPS. miRNA-34a showed no correlation with portal pressure, but its levels in the portal vein correlated inversely with the congestion index. Interestingly, the levels of miRNA-34a in the portal and hepatic vein showed inverse correlation with arterial pressure. Furthermore, levels of miRNA-34a in the hepatic vein had a predictive value for survival, but MELD, creatinine at short-time follow-up 14 days after TIPS-insertion and portal pressure after TIPS performed better.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates for the first time, that miRNA-34a may originate to a large extent from the liver. Even though higher levels of miRNA-34a are possibly associated with better survival at long-term follow-up in cirrhotic patients with severe portal hypertension receiving TIPS, classical prognostic parameters predict the survival better.