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Cell Signal. 2012 Dec;24(12):2268-72. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2012.07.023. Epub 2012 Aug 3.

The potential of microRNAs in liver fibrosis.

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School of Pharmacy, Anhui Key Laboratory of Bioactivity of Natrual Products, Anhui Medical University, Hefei 230032, China.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of ~22-nucleotides noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression by specifically binding with 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of target gene mRNAs to posttranscriptionally effect mRNA stability and translation,and play essential roles in a variety of biological processes, including cell development, proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Liver fibrosis is the occurrence of liver cell necrosis and inflammatory stimulation, and is characterized by excessive accumulation of extracellular matrices(ECMs). In the fibrotic liver, hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), which are regulated by multiple signal transduction pathways, undergo myofibroblastic transdifferentiation and are generally regarded as the major ECM producer responsible for liver fibrosis. A growing body of evidence suggests that divergent miRNAs participate in liver fibrotic process and activation of HSC. Moreover, members of many signal transduction pathways are important targets for miRNAs. In this review, we make a summary on current understanding of the roles of miRNAs in the development of liver fibrosis, HSC functions and their potential as novel drug targets.

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