miRNA and long non-coding RNA transcriptional expression in hepatocellular carcinoma cell line-secreted extracellular vesicles

Clin Exp Med. 2022 May;22(2):245-255. doi: 10.1007/s10238-021-00744-6. Epub 2021 Jul 28.


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membrane-released vesicles acting as transporters of proteins, lipids and short/long non-coding RNA (miRNAs and lncRNAs). They are released by normal and pathological cells, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To date, studies focused on miRNAs and lncRNAs contained in EVs derived from HCC are limited. Our aim was to analyze the transcriptional profile of potential regulating miRNAs and lncRNAs in EVs secreted by HCC tumor cell line (HepG2, n = 6), and from a non-tumorigenic hepatocyte cell line (WRL68, n = 6), to compare their differential expression profile and to identify novel molecular diagnostic markers of HCC. EVs were isolated from the conditioned medium, through differential centrifugations. The expression profile of miRNAs (miR-23a, miR-16-2, miR-181a, miR-373, miR-205, miR-27a, miR-1323, and miR-532) and lncRNAs (HULC, HOTAIR, XIST, MALAT-1, GAS-5, H19) was performed in Real-time PCR, and their transcript was found both in HepG2 and WRL68 EVs. Lower miR-181a, miR-205 and miR-1323 expression were detected in EVs secreted by HepG2 compared to WRL68, while an opposite trend was observed for miR-23a, miR-16-2, miR-373, miR-27a, and miR-532. Several significant correlations were found between miRNA and lncRNA. An in silico analysis was also performed. The results obtained could identified them as new potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of HCC.

Keywords: Extracellular vesicles; HCC; Long non-coding; Real-time PCR; miRNA.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Extracellular Vesicles* / metabolism
  • Extracellular Vesicles* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / pathology
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • RNA, Long Noncoding* / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding* / metabolism


  • MIRN1323 microRNA, human
  • MIRN532 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Long Noncoding