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Clin Epigenetics. 2017 Sep 16;9:101. doi: 10.1186/s13148-017-0404-9. eCollection 2017.

Identification and characterization of interferon signaling-related microRNAs in occult hepatitis B virus infection.

Author information

Department of Epidemiology and Statistics, School of Public Health, Jiangsu Key Laboratory and Translational Medicine for Geriatric Disease, Medical College of Soochow University, 199 Renai Road, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123 China.
Guizhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Guizhou, China.
Zhangjiagang First People Hospital, Suzhou, China.
China Huai'an Fourth Hospital, Huai'an, China.
Contributed equally



Occult hepatitis B virus infection (OBI) is an important risk factor of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Type 1 interferon (IFN) signaling-related miRNAs were significantly associated with hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. However, the characteristics of serum IFN signaling-related miRNAs in OBI remain unclear. Therefore, this study aimed to analyze the expression levels of serum IFN signaling-related miRNAs in OBI and to evaluate their potential values for OBI diagnosis.


Twenty serum samples for training test (10 healthy controls and 10 OBI patients) and 438 validation serum samples from healthy controls, asymptomatic HBsAg carriers (ASC), and chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and OBI patients were collected. Expression levels of 32 IFN signaling-related miRNAs were analyzed in training and validation sets of samples using RT-qPCR.


Among 32 IFN signaling-related miRNAs, decreased miR-122 levels and increased miR-130a levels were detected in training OBI samples. Furthermore, the results from validation test showed that the mean serum miR-122 and miR-130a level was 2.28 ± 0.96 and 3.11 ± 0.93 in OBI subjects, respectively. Compared to the healthy controls, ASC and CHB patients, miR-122 levels were significantly downregulated, while miR-130a levels were significantly upregulated in OBI patients. ROC analysis indicated that miR-122 + miR-130a could differentiate OBI from healthy controls, ASC, and CHB (≥ 0.87 of AUC).


Our study suggested that decreased serum miR-122 level and increased miR-130a level were significantly associated with OBI. Moreover, a combination of miR-122 and miR-130a could be served as a potential marker for OBI diagnosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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