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miRNAs and NAFLD: from pathophysiology to therapy
  1. Monika Gjorgjieva,
  2. Cyril Sobolewski,
  3. Dobrochna Dolicka,
  4. Marta Correia de Sousa,
  5. Michelangelo Foti
  1. Department of Cell Physiology and Metabolism, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Professor Michelangelo Foti, Department of Cell Physiology and Metabolism, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Geneva 1205, Switzerland; michelangelo.foti{at}


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is associated with a thorough reprogramming of hepatic metabolism. Epigenetic mechanisms, in particular those associated with deregulation of the expressions and activities of microRNAs (miRNAs), play a major role in metabolic disorders associated with NAFLD and their progression towards more severe stages of the disease. In this review, we discuss the recent progress addressing the role of the many facets of complex miRNA regulatory networks in the development and progression of NAFLD. The basic concepts and mechanisms of miRNA-mediated gene regulation as well as the various setbacks encountered in basic and translational research in this field are debated. miRNAs identified so far, whose expressions/activities are deregulated in NAFLD, and which contribute to the outcomes of this pathology are further reviewed. Finally, the potential therapeutic usages in a short to medium term of miRNA-based strategies in NAFLD, in particular to identify non-invasive biomarkers, or to design pharmacological analogues/inhibitors having a broad range of actions on hepatic metabolism, are highlighted.

  • chronic liver disease
  • fatty liver
  • lipid metabolism
  • liver metabolism

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  • Contributors All authors significantly contributed to the writing of the manuscript and design artworks.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant 310030-172862 and CRSII3-160717) and the Swiss Cancer Research Foundation (Grant KFS-4094-02-2017). The figures were constructed with images taken from Servier Medical Art collection.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.