Role of microRNA-7 in liver diseases: a comprehensive review of the mechanisms and therapeutic applications

J Investig Med. 2020 Oct;68(7):1208-1216. doi: 10.1136/jim-2020-001420. Epub 2020 Aug 24.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / genetics*
  • Liver Diseases / therapy*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Untranslated