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Cell Death Dis. 2018 Jun 18;9(7):718. doi: 10.1038/s41419-018-0752-1.

MicroRNA-214 promotes hepatic stellate cell activation and liver fibrosis by suppressing Sufu expression.

Author information

1
Department of Thoracic Surgery, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, and Collaborative Innovation Center for Biotherapy, 610041, Chengdu, China.
2
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, 610041, Chengdu, China.
3
Department of Immunology and Cancer Research, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel.
4
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, 610041, Chengdu, China. yangli_hx@scu.edu.cn.
5
Department of Thoracic Surgery, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, and Collaborative Innovation Center for Biotherapy, 610041, Chengdu, China. yongpeng@scu.edu.cn.

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been demonstrated to modulate cellular processes in the liver. However, the role of miRNAs in liver fibrosis is poorly understood. Because the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) is a pivotal event in the initiation and progression of hepatic fibrosis, we investigate the differential expression of miRNAs in activated and quiescent rat HSCs by microarray analysis and find that miR-214 (miR-214-3p) is significantly upregulated during HSC activation. Moreover, the robust induction of miR-214 is correlated with liver fibrogenesis in carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-treated rats and mice, high-fat diet-induced non-alcoholic steatohepatitis in mice, and cirrhosis in humans. We identify that miR-214 expression is driven by the helix-loop-helix transcription factor Twist1 via the E-box element. The increased miR-214 inhibits the expression of suppressor-of-fused homolog (Sufu), a negative regulator of the Hedgehog signaling pathway, thereby contributing to HSC activation to promote the accumulation of fibrous extracellular matrix and the expression of profibrotic genes in HSCs and LX2 cells. Furthermore, miR-214 expression is inversely correlated with the expression of Sufu in clinical cirrhosis samples. To explore the clinical potential of miR-214, we inject antagomiR-214 oligos into mice to induce hepatic fibrosis. The knockdown of miR-214 in vivo enhances Sufu expression and reduces fibrosis marker expression, which ameliorates liver fibrosis in mice. In conclusions, the Twist1-regulated miR-214 promotes the activation of HSC cells through targeting Sufu involved in the Hedgehog pathway and participates in the development of hepatic fibrosis. Hence, the knockdown of miR-214 expression may be a promising therapeutic strategy for liver fibrosis.

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