Background: In many industrialized countries, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is recognized as an important disease that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Most people with NAFLD are asymptomatic, and the disease is discovered incidentally during clinical laboratory tests. Present screening methods for NAFLD use ultrasound, and CT scans that are time-consuming, and a simple screening method for NAFLD is needed. In this study, we investigated whether serum miRNAs are associated with NAFLD and assessed the potential of serum miRNAs as a biomarker for NAFLD. Methods: We assessed intrahepatic fat by ultrasound scan, and the serum levels of five miRNAs (miR-21, miR-34a, miR-122, miR-145, and miR-451), which help regulate cholesterol and fatty acid homeostasis in liver tissue, by real-time PCR in a cross-sectional sample of 403 participants who attended health examinations. Results: Serum levels of miRNAs, miR-21, miR-34a, miR-122, and miR-451 were higher in participants with NAFLD. The serum level of miR-122 was correlated with the severity of liver steatosis. Conclusion: Serum levels of miRNAs, particularly miR-122, may be a useful biomarker for NAFLD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical