Identification of miRNAs associated with dendritic cell dysfunction during acute and chronic hepatitis B virus infection

J Med Virol. 2021 Jun;93(6):3697-3706. doi: 10.1002/jmv.26629. Epub 2020 Nov 10.


The uptake or expression of hepatitis B virus (HBV) proteins by dendritic cells (DCs) is considered important for disease outcome. Differential expression of microRNA (miRNA) may have a role in viral persistence and hepatocellular injury. The miRNA expression was investigated by microarray in DCs from different stages of HBV infection and liver disease namely, immune active (IA; n = 20); low replicative (LR; n = 20); HBeAg negative (n = 20); acute viral hepatitis (AVH, n = 20) and healthy controls (n = 20). miRNA levels were analyzed by unsupervised hierarchical clustering and principal component analyses and validated by quantitative polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR). The miRNA-messenger RNA (mRNA)regulatory networks identified 19 miRNAs and 12 target gene interactions in major histocompatibility complex and other immune pathways. miR-2278, miR-615-3p, and miR-3681-3p were downregulated in the IA group compared to healthy control, miR-152-3p and miR-3613-3p in the LR group compared to IA group and miR-152-3p and miR-503-3p in HBe negative compared to LR group. However, miR-7-1-1-3p, miR-192-5p, miR-195-5p, and miR-32-5p in LR, miR-342-3p, and miR-940 in HBe negative, and miR-34a-5p, miR-130b-3p, miR-221-3p, miR-320a, miR-324-5p, and miR-484 in AVH were upregulated. Further, qPCR confirmed changes in miRNA levels and their target genes associated with antigen processing and presentation. Thus, a deregulated network of miRNAs-mRNAs in DCs seems responsible for an impaired immune response during HBV pathogenesis.

Keywords: HBe antigen; RT-qPCR; acute viral hepatitis; antigen presentation; chronic hepatitis B; microarray.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / virology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dendritic Cells / pathology*
  • Dendritic Cells / virology*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Hepatitis B / genetics*
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / classification
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Up-Regulation
  • Young Adult


  • MIRN152 microRNA, human
  • MIRN195 microRNA, human
  • MIRN324 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger