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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(1), 261; doi:10.3390/ijms19010261

The Role of miRNAs in the Pathophysiology of Liver Diseases and Toxicity

Department of Medicine III, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Hepatobiliary Oncology, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 13 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatotoxicity: Molecular Mechanisms and Pathophysiology)
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Both acute and chronic liver toxicity represents a major global health burden and an important cause of morbidity and lethality worldwide. Despite epochal progress in the treatment of hepatitis C virus infections, pharmacological treatment strategies for most liver diseases are still limited and new targets for prevention or treatment of liver disease are urgently needed. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent a new class of highly conserved small non-coding RNAs that are involved in the regulation of gene expression by targeting whole networks of so called “targets”. Previous studies have shown that the expression of miRNAs is specifically altered in almost all acute and chronic liver diseases. In this context, it was shown that miRNA can exert causal roles, being pro- or anti-inflammatory, as well as pro- or antifibrotic mediators or being oncogenes as well as tumor suppressor genes. Recent data suggested a potential therapeutic use of miRNAs by targeting different steps in the hepatic pathophysiology. Here, we review the function of miRNAs in the context of acute and chronic liver diseases. Furthermore, we highlight the potential role of circulating microRNAs in diagnosis of liver diseases and discuss the major challenges and drawbacks that currently prevent the use of miRNAs in clinical routine. View Full-Text
Keywords: liver; miRNAs; acute liver injury; liver toxicity; liver cirrhosis liver; miRNAs; acute liver injury; liver toxicity; liver cirrhosis

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Schueller, F.; Roy, S.; Vucur, M.; Trautwein, C.; Luedde, T.; Roderburg, C. The Role of miRNAs in the Pathophysiology of Liver Diseases and Toxicity. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 261.

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