Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology
Medical Subject Headings
MicroRNAs; Liver Diseases, Alcoholic
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology | Digestive System Diseases | Gastroenterology | Hepatology
Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a major global health problem. Chronic alcohol use results in inflammation and fatty liver, and in some cases, it leads to fibrosis and cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma. Increased proinflammatory cytokines, particularly TNF alpha, play a central role in the pathogenesis of ALD. TNF alpha is tightly regulated at transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to modulate gene functions. The role of miRNAs in ALD is getting attention, and recent studies suggest that alcohol modulates miRNAs. Recently, we showed that alcohol induces miR-155 expression both in vitro (RAW 264.7 macrophage) and in vivo (Kupffer cells, KCs of alcohol-fed mice). Induction of miR-155 contributed to increased TNF alpha production and to the sensitization of KCs to produce more TNF alpha in response to LPS. In this paper, we summarize the current knowledge of miRNAs in ALD and also report increased expression of miR-155 and miR-132 in the total liver as well as in isolated hepatocytes and KCs of alcohol-fed mice. Our novel finding of the alcohol-induced increase of miRNAs in hepatocytes and KCs after alcohol feeding provides further insight into the evolving knowledge regarding the role of miRNAs in ALD.