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Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology

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Digestive System Diseases | Hepatology | Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms


BACKGROUND and AIM: MicroRNAs (miRs) regulate hepatic steatosis, inflammation and fibrosis. Fibrosis is the consequence of chronic tissue damage and inflammation. We hypothesized that deficiency of miR-155, a master regulator of inflammation, attenuates steatohepatitis and fibrosis.

METHODS: Wild type (WT) and miR-155-deficient (KO) mice were fed methionine-choline-deficient (MCD) or -supplemented (MCS) control diet for 5 weeks. Liver injury, inflammation, steatosis and fibrosis were assessed.

RESULTS: MCD diet resulted in steatohepatitis and increased miR-155 expression in total liver, hepatocytes and Kupffer cells. Steatosis and expression of genes involved in fatty acid metabolism were attenuated in miR-155 KO mice after MCD feeding. In contrast, miR-155 deficiency failed to attenuate inflammatory cell infiltration, nuclear factor kappa beta (NF-kappaB) activation and enhanced the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP1) in MCD diet-fed mice. We found a significant attenuation of apoptosis (cleaved caspase-3) and reduction in collagen and alpha smooth muscle actin (alphaSMA) levels in miR-155 KO mice compared to WTs on MCD diet. In addition, we found attenuation of platelet derived growth factor (PDGF), a pro-fibrotic cytokine; SMAD family member 3 (Smad3), a protein involved in transforming growth factor-beta (TGFbeta) signal transduction and vimentin, a mesenchymal marker and indirect indicator of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in miR-155 KO mice. Nuclear binding of CCAAT enhancer binding protein beta (C/EBPbeta) a miR-155 target involved in EMT was significantly increased in miR-155 KO compared to WT mice.

CONCLUSIONS: Our novel data demonstrate that miR-155 deficiency can reduce steatosis and fibrosis without decreasing inflammation in steatohepatitis.

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Copyright: © 2015 Csak et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI of Published Version



PLoS One. 2015 Jun 4;10(6):e0129251. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129251. eCollection 2015. Link to article on publisher's site

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PloS one

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.