GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Approval Date

4-7-2016

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

MD/PhD

Department

Medicine

First Thesis Advisor

Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD

Keywords

Alcoholism, Alcoholic Fatty Liver, Hepatocytes, Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic Liver Diseases, MicroRNAs

Subjects

Dissertations, UMMS; Alcoholism; Fatty Liver, Alcoholic; Hepatocytes; Liver Cirrhosis; Liver Diseases, Alcoholic; MicroRNAs

Abstract

Chronic alcohol use results in accelerated liver injury, leading to alcoholic steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. However, due to the complex nature of this disease process, a central, druggable mechanism has remained elusive. microRNAs are potent post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. A single miRNA has the ability to regulate hundreds of pathways simultaneously, defining cellular fate and function. microRNA-122 (miR-122), the most abundant miRNA in hepatocytes, has a demonstrated role as an tumor suppressor, regulator of hepatocyte metabolism, and hepatic differentiation.

In this dissertation I demonstrate the role of miR-122 on alcoholic liver disease (ALD) pathogenesis over four parts. In chapter II, I will demonstrate chronic alcoholic patients, free of neoplastic changes, have a reduction of miR-122 and that this miRNA regulates HIF-1α, a determinant of ALD pathogenesis. In chapter III, using hepatocytetropic adeno-associated virus 8 (AAV8) vector, I demonstrate that miR-122 inhibition mimics ALD pathogenesis, and furthermore, using hepatocyte-specific HIF-1α-null (HIF1hepKO) mice that this phenomenon is HIF-1α dependent. Given this finding, in chapter IV, I demonstrate that ectopic expression of miR-122 in vivo can reverse alcoholinduced liver damage, steatosis, and inflammation by directly targeting HIF-1α. Finally, in chapter V, I present evidence that alcohol-induced dysregulation of grainyhead-like proteins 1 and 2 (GRHL2), mediate the inhibition of miR-122 at the transcriptional level. These findings dissect a novel mechanistic regulatory axis of miR-122 and indicate a potential opportunity for restoration of miR-122 as a therapy in early ALD.

DOI

10.13028/M2GP4W

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