Circulating microRNAs: Possible role as non-invasive diagnostic biomarkers in liver disease

Kishor Pant, Senthil K. Venugopal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Liver is the central organ for metabolism and the hepatocytes metabolize several drugs, hepatotoxins, alcohol, etc. Continuous exposure of the hepatocytes to these toxins result in various chronic diseases, such as alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, viral hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Although several diagnostic methods, such as serum markers, liver biopsy or imaging studies are currently available, most of these are either invasive or detect the disease at advanced stages. Hence, there is a need for new molecular markers that can be used for early detection of the disease. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are naturally occurring, 20-22 nucleotide long, non-coding RNA molecules that regulate the gene expression at post-transcriptional levels, thereby modulating various biological functions. Their expression is deregulated under pathological conditions, and recent studies showed that they are secreted and can be detected in various body fluids. Since the cellular changes occur at earlier stages of the disease, detecting miRNAs in the body fluids could make them as potential novel biomarkers. Albeit, the difficulties in standardization procedures, cost and availability should be addressed before using them in the clinical arena. This review highlights the possible role of secreted miRNAs to use as early non-invasive diagnostic markers for liver disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalClinics and Research in Hepatology and Gastroenterology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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