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miRNAs and NAFLD: from pathophysiology to therapy

Abstract

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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