The role of microRNAs in the pathogenesis, grading and treatment of hepatic fibrosis in schistosomiasis

Parasit Vectors. 2019 Dec 30;12(1):611. doi: 10.1186/s13071-019-3866-0.


Schistosomiasis is a prevalent parasitic disease worldwide. The main pathological changes of hepatosplenic schistosomiasis are hepatic granuloma and fibrosis due to worm eggs. Portal hypertension and ascites induced by hepatic fibrosis are usually the main causes of death in patients with chronic hepatosplenic schistosomiasis. Currently, no effective vaccine exists for preventing schistosome infections. For quite a long time, praziquantel (PZQ) was widely used for the treatment of schistosomiasis and has shown benefit in treating liver fibrosis. However, drug resistance and chemical toxicity from PZQ are being increasingly reported in recent years; therefore, new and effective strategies for treating schistosomiasis-induced hepatic fibrosis are urgently needed. MicroRNA (miRNA), a non-coding RNA, has been proved to be associated with the development of many human diseases, including schistosomiasis. In this review, we present a balanced and comprehensive view of the role of miRNAs in the pathogenesis, grading, and treatment of schistosomiasis-associated hepatic fibrosis. The multiple regulatory roles of miRNAs, such as promoting or inhibiting the development of liver pathology in murine schistosomiasis are also discussed in depth. Additionally, miRNAs may serve as candidate biomarkers for diagnosing liver pathology of schistosomiasis and as novel therapeutic targets for treating schistosomiasis-associated hepatic fibrosis.

Keywords: Biomarker; Hepatic fibrosis; Hepatic stellate cells; MicroRNA; Schistosomiasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthelmintics / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / genetics*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / metabolism
  • Liver Cirrhosis / parasitology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / therapy*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs / therapeutic use
  • Praziquantel / administration & dosage
  • Schistosoma / genetics
  • Schistosoma / physiology
  • Schistosomiasis / genetics*
  • Schistosomiasis / parasitology
  • Schistosomiasis / pathology
  • Schistosomiasis / therapy*


  • Anthelmintics
  • MicroRNAs
  • Praziquantel