Research Papers:

MicroRNA deregulation in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis-associated liver carcinogenesis

Aline de Conti, Juliana Festa Ortega, Volodymyr Tryndyak, Kostiantyn Dreval, Fernando Salvador Moreno, Ivan Rusyn, Frederick A. Beland and Igor P. Pogribny _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:88517-88528. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19774

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Aline de Conti1,*, Juliana Festa Ortega1,2,*, Volodymyr Tryndyak1, Kostiantyn Dreval1, Fernando Salvador Moreno2, Ivan Rusyn3, Frederick A. Beland1 and Igor P. Pogribny1

1Division of Biochemical Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, Jefferson, Arkansas, USA

2Department of Food and Experimental Nutrition, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

3Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Igor P. Pogribny, email: [email protected]

Keywords: hepatocarcinogenesis, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, epigenetics, microRNAs, miR-93-5p

Received: June 20, 2017     Accepted: July 06, 2017     Published: August 01, 2017


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Recent epidemiological studies have identified nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a progressive form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), as a major risk factor for HCC. Elucidating the underlying mechanisms associated with the development of NASH-derived HCC is critical for identifying early biomarkers for the progression of the disease and for treatment and prevention. In the present study, using liver samples from C57BL/6J mice submitted to the Stelic Animal Model (STAM) of NASH-associated liver carcinogenesis, we investigated the role of microRNA (miRNA) alterations in the pathogenesis of NASH-derived HCC. We found substantial alterations in the expression of miRNAs, with the greatest number occurring in full-fledged HCC. Mechanistically, altered miRNA expression was associated with activation of major hepatocarcinogenesis-related pathways, including the TGF-β, Wnt/β-catenin, ERK1/2, mTOR, and EGF signaling. In addition, the over-expression of the miR-221-3p and miR-222-3p and oncogenic miR-106b~25 cluster was accompanied by the reduced protein levels of their targets, including E2F transcription factor 1 (E2F1), phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1 (CDKN1A). Importantly, miR-93-5p, miR-221-3p, and miR-222-3p were also significantly over-expressed in human HCC. These findings suggest that aberrant expression of miRNAs may have mechanistic significance in NASH-associated liver carcinogenesis and may serve as an indicator for the development of NASH-derived HCC.

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