3 years ago

MicroRNA-21 and Dicer are Dispensable for Hepatic Stellate Cell Activation and the Development of Liver Fibrosis.

Richard A Friedman, Xin Chen, Jun Yan, Geum-Youn Gwak, Peter Olinga, Jorge Matias Caviglia, Robert F Schwabe, Myoung-Kuk Jang, Lexing Yu, Silvia Affo
Fibrosis and cancer represent two major complications of chronic liver disease. MicroRNAs have been implicated in the development of fibrosis and cancer, thus constituting potential therapeutic targets. Here, we investigated the role of miR-21, a microRNA that has been implicated in the development of fibrosis in multiple organs and also been suggested to act as "oncomir". Accordingly, miR-21 was the microRNA that showed the strongest upregulation in activated hepatic stellate cells (HSC) in multiple models of fibrogenesis, with an 8- to 24-fold induction compared to quiescent HSC. However, miR-21 antisense inhibition did not suppress the activation of murine or human HSC in culture or in liver slices. Moreover, antisense inhibition or genetic deletion of miR-21 in two independently generated knockout mice did not alter HSC activation or liver fibrosis in models of toxic and biliary liver injury. Despite a strong upregulation of miR-21 in injury-associated hepatocellular carcinoma and in cholangiocarcinoma, miR-21 deletion or antisense inhibition did not reduce the development of liver tumors. As inhibition of the most upregulated microRNA did not affect HSC activation, liver fibrosis and fibrosis-associated liver cancer, we additionally tested the role of microRNAs in HSC by HSC-specific Dicer deletion. Although Dicer deletion decreased microRNA expression in HSC and altered the expression of select genes, it only exerted negligible effects on HSC activation and liver fibrosis. In conclusion, genetic and pharmacologic manipulation of miR-21 does not inhibit the development of liver fibrosis and liver cancer. Moreover, suppression of microRNA synthesis does not significantly affect HSC phenotype and activation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1002/hep.29627

DOI: 10.1002/hep.29627

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