MicroRNA-7 (miR-7) is a small non-coding RNA, which plays critical roles in regulating gene expression of multiple key cellular processes. MiR-7 exhibits a tissue-specific pattern of expression, with abundant levels found in the brain, spleen, and pancreas. Although it is expressed at lower levels in other tissues, including the liver, miR-7 is involved in both the development of organs and biological functions of cells. In this review, we focus on the mechanisms by which miR-7 controls cell growth, proliferation, invasion, metastasis, metabolism, and inflammation. We also summarize the specific roles of miR-7 in liver diseases. MiR-7 is considered as a tumor suppressor miRNA in hepatocellular carcinoma and is involved in the pathogenesis of hepatic steatosis and hepatitis. Future studies to further define miR-7 functions and its mechanism in association with other types of liver diseases should be explored. An improved understanding from these studies will provide us a useful perspective leading to mechanism-based intervention by targeting miR-7 for the treatment of liver diseases.
Keywords: liver diseases.
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