Although several chronically infected individuals PI3K inhibitor never develop cirrhosis, some may develop severe fibrosis. A number of cellular factors, demographic, and clinical characteristics, as well as viral factors, have been associated with the development of HCV-related liver fibrosis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small, single-stranded noncoding RNA of 22 nucleotides with a characteristic hairpin secondary structure.[5,
6] They regulate gene silencing either by targeting messenger RNA (mRNA) directly into degradation or by inhibiting translation. Aberrant expression of miRNAs has been linked to variety of cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma.[7, 8] Several groups have reported the presence of miRNAs in human serum and plasma, called circulating miRNAs.[9, 10] These miRNAs are not affected by endogenous RNases in the blood. In addition, circulating miRNAs display consistent profiles between healthy individuals and significantly altered levels in disease conditions.[11, 12] These characteristics of circulating miRNAs established their potential value as biomarkers for changes in physiological
and pathological conditions. For example, miR-25 and miR-223 are shown to be serum biomarkers for lung cancer, miR-184 for squamous cell carcinoma, and miR-92a for leukemia. Circulating miR-122 and miR-155 were identified as inflammation biomarkers in different this website forms of liver injuries.[16-19] miR-141 and miR-375 were the most promising markers correlated with prostate tumor progression. The circulating miRNAs can also be used to predict Florfenicol the clinical outcomes of nonsmall-cell lung cancer patients. In our present study, circulating miRNAs, miR-20a and miR-92a, were identified as possible predictive biomarkers for HCV-mediated liver disease. Our data show that an increase in circulating miR-20a correlate with HCV-mediated liver
fibrosis severity, which may serve as predictor for liver disease progression. We also observed that miR-20a and miR-92a are up-regulated in acute and chronic stages of HCV infection. To our knowledge this is the first report describing a group of miRNAs up-regulated in HCV infection which could be used as a potential predictive biomarker. Our study was approved by the Saint Louis University and Massachusetts General Hospital Institutional Review Board and written informed consent was obtained from all subjects. A total of 86 sera samples including 44 HCV-infected patients with different stages of fibrosis, 20 non-HCV-associated patients with liver fibrosis, and 22 healthy volunteers were included in this study. The liver fibrosis stage was evaluated according to Batts and Ludwig scoring system in patients with chronic hepatitis C, including 33 (F0-F2) early-stage and 11 (F3-F4) late-stage fibrosis.