Background: Acute viral hepatitis E (AVH-E) can often result in acute liver failure (ALF) during pregnancy. microRNAs serve as mediators in drug induced liver failure. We investigated their role as a biomarker in predicting ALF due to HEV (ALF-E).
Methods: We performed next generation sequencing and subsequent validation studies in PBMCs of pregnant (P) self limiting AVH-E, ALF due to HEV (ALF-E) and compared with AVH-E in non-pregnant (NP) females and healthy controls.
Findings: Eleven microRNAs were significantly expressed in response to HEV infection; importantly, miR- 431, 654, 1468 and 4435, were distinctly expressed in pregnant self-limiting AVH-E and healthy females (p = 0.0005), but not in ALF-E. Sixteen exclusive microRNAs differentiated ALF-E from self limiting AVH-E in pregnant females. miR-450b which affects cellular proliferation and metabolic processes through RNF20 and SECB was predominanlty upregulated and correlated with poor outcome (ROC 0.958, p = 0.001).
Interpretation: Our results reveal that a specific microRNA profile can predict fatality in ALF-E in pregnancy. These microRNAs could be exploited as prognostic biomarkers and help in the development of new therapeutic interventions.
Keywords: Health sciences; Virology.