Circulating levels of miR-122 and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in pre-pubertal obese children

S. Brandt, J. Roos, E. Inzaghi, P. Kotnik, J. Kovac, T. Battelino, S. Cianfarani, V. Nobili, M. Colajacomo, W. Kratzer, C. Denzer, P. Fischer-Posovszky, M. Wabitsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The liver-specific miR-122 was proposed as biomarker for NAFLD in adults. Here, we investigated the relationship between miR-122 levels, parameters of liver metabolism and NAFLD in pre-pubertal obese children. Methods: Parameters of liver metabolism (ALT, AST and GGT) of three European cohorts were included (German cohort [n = 71; age: 11.53 ± 1.29 years; BMI z-score: 2.96 ± 0.64], Italian cohort [n = 45; age: 9.60 ± 2.11 years; BMI z-score: 3.57 ± 1.16], Slovenian cohort [n = 31; age: 7.53 ± 1.47 years; BMI z-score: 3.66 ± 0.88]). MiR-122 levels and CK18 concentrations were measured in fasting blood samples. In the German and Italian cohort, the diagnosis of NAFLD and grading of NAFLD was assessed by ultrasound. Results: NAFLD was diagnosed in n = 50 patients of the German cohort (29.6%) and in n = 29 patients (72.5%) of the Italian cohort. In all three cohorts, miR-122 was positively correlated with ALT and AST as well as with CK18 concentrations. MiR-122 levels were higher in children with NAFLD compared with healthy controls. Conclusions: MiR-122 levels in pre-pubertal obese children could be a potential biomarker for paediatric NAFLD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-182
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric obesity
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Dec 22 2017


  • Children
  • liver disease
  • microRNA
  • non-invasive biomarker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health Policy
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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