Blood hsa-miR-122-5p and hsa-miR-885-5p levels associate with fatty liver and related lipoprotein metabolism-The Young Finns Study

Sci Rep. 2016 Dec 5;6:38262. doi: 10.1038/srep38262.


MicroRNAs are involved in disease development and may be utilized as biomarkers. We investigated the association of blood miRNA levels and a) fatty liver (FL), b) lipoprotein and lipid pathways involved in liver lipid accumulation and c) levels of predicted mRNA targets in general population based cohort. Blood microRNA profiling (TaqMan OpenArray), genome-wide gene expression arrays and nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics were performed for Young Finns Study participants aged 34-49 years (n = 871). Liver fat status was assessed ultrasonographically. Levels of hsa-miR-122-5p and -885-5p were up-regulated in individuals with FL (fold change (FC) = 1.55, p = 1.36 * 10-14 and FC = 1.25, p = 4.86 * 10-4, respectively). In regression model adjusted with age, sex and BMI, hsa-miR-122-5p and -885-5p predicted FL (OR = 2.07, p = 1.29 * 10-8 and OR = 1.41, p = 0.002, respectively). Together hsa-miR-122-5p and -885-5p slightly improved the detection of FL beyond established risk factors. These miRNAs may be associated with FL formation through the regulation of lipoprotein metabolism as hsa-miR-122-5p levels associated with small VLDL, IDL, and large LDL lipoprotein subclass components, while hsa-miR-885-5p levels associated inversely with XL HDL cholesterol levels. Hsa-miR-885-5p levels correlated inversely with oxysterol-binding protein 2 (OSBPL2) expression (r = -0.143, p = 1.00 * 10-4) and suppressing the expression of this lipid receptor and sterol transporter could link hsa-miR-885-5p with HDL cholesterol levels.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Fatty Liver / blood*
  • Fatty Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Fatty Liver / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ultrasonography


  • Lipoproteins
  • MIRN122 microRNA, human
  • MIRN885 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs