Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is closely associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type II diabetes mellitus. Recently, circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) have been proposed as useful disease biomarkers. We examined whether circulating miRNAs, such as miR-20a, miR-27a, and miR-126, were useful biomarkers for NAFLD. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 527 subjects aged 39 years or older who had undergone a health examination in the Yakumo Study. Of the residents, 92 were diagnosed with NAFLD using a registered medical sonographer. Serum miR-20a, miR-27a and miR-126 levels were measured by quantitative real-time PCR. We then calculated the odds ratios for serum miRNA level changes according to the severity of NAFLD using normal liver status as the reference group. Serum levels of miR-20a and 27a, but not miR-126, were significantly lower in NAFLD subjects than normal subjects. Serum miR-20a and miR-27a levels were significantly lower in both male and female severe NAFLD subjects. Logistic regression analysis showed a significant relationship between low circulating miR-20a and 27a levels and severe NAFLD. Down-regulated circulating miR-20a and 27a levels were significantly associated with severe NAFLD in the general population. Circulating miR-20a and miR-27a may be useful biomarkers for severe NAFLD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes