microRNA changes in liver tissue associated with fibrosis progression in patients with hepatitis C

Liver Int. 2016 Mar;36(3):334-43. doi: 10.1111/liv.12919. Epub 2015 Sep 9.


Background & aims: Accumulating evidence indicates that microRNAs play a role in a number of disease processes including the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis in hepatitis C infection. Our goal is to add to the accruing information regarding microRNA deregulation in liver fibrosis to increase our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of pathology and progression.

Methods: We used next generation sequencing to profile all detectable microRNAs in liver tissue and serum from patients with hepatitis C, stages F1-F4 of fibrosis.

Results: We found altered expression of several microRNAs, in particular, miR-182, miR199a-5p, miR-200a-5p and miR-183 were found to be significantly upregulated in tissue from liver biopsies of hepatitis C patients with advanced fibrosis, stage F3 and F4, when compared with liver biopsies from patients with early fibrosis, stages F1 and F2. We also found miR-148-5p, miR-1260b, miR-122-3p and miR-378i among the microRNAs most significantly down-regulated from early to advanced fibrosis of the liver. We also sequenced the serum microRNAs; however, we were not able to detect significant changes in circulating microRNAs associated with fibrosis stage after adjusting for multiple tests.

Conclusions: Adding measurements of tissue microRNAs acquired during routine biopsies will continue to increase our knowledge of underlying mechanisms of fibrosis. Our goal is that these data, in combination with studies from other researchers and future long-term studies, could be used to enhance the staging accuracy of liver biopsies and expand the surveillance of patients at increased risk for cancer and progression to advanced fibrosis.

Keywords: fibrosis; hepatitis C; liver; microRNA; sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Genetic Markers
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Liver / chemistry*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver / virology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis / genetics*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / virology
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Time Factors


  • Genetic Markers
  • MicroRNAs