Copyright ©The Author(s) 2017. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Hepatol. Apr 28, 2017; 9(12): 586-594
Published online Apr 28, 2017. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v9.i12.586
Role of circulating microRNAs in liver diseases
Sven H Loosen, Florian Schueller, Christian Trautwein, Sanchari Roy, Christoph Roderburg
Sven H Loosen, Florian Schueller, Christian Trautwein, Sanchari Roy, Christoph Roderburg, Department of Medicine III, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, 52074 Aachen, Germany
Author contributions: Loosen SH and Schueller F share first authorship; Roy S and Roderburg C share senior authorship; all authors designed, wrote and drafted the manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Dr. Christoph Roderburg, PD, Department of Medicine III, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany.
Telephone: +49-241-8035367 Fax: +49-241-8082455
Received: January 27, 2017
Peer-review started: February 12, 2017
First decision: March 8, 2017
Revised: March 27, 2017
Accepted: April 6, 2017
Article in press: April 10, 2017
Published online: April 28, 2017

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNAs regulate gene expression by inhibiting the turnover of their target mRNAs. In the last years, it became apparent that miRNAs are released into the circulation and circulating miRNAs emerged as a new class of biomarkers for various diseases. In this review we summarize available data on the role of circulating miRNAs in the context of acute and chronic liver diseases including hepatocellular and cholangiocellular carcinoma. Data from animal models are compared to human data and current challenges in the field of miRNAs research are discussed.

Keywords: Liver disease, Acute liver failure, MicroRNA, Liver fibrosis, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Autoimmune hepatitis, Cholangiocarcinoma

Core tip: In this article, we aim to review the role of circulating microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small non-coding RNAs involved in various pathological processes, in the context of liver disease. The focus is on current and future applications of miRNAs as potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in the field of acute liver failure, liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, autoimmune liver disease as well as liver cancer.