Mirnome analysis reveals novel molecular determinants in the pathogenesis of diet-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Anna Alisi, Letizia Da Sacco, Giovannella Bruscalupi, Fiorella Piemonte, Nadia Panera, Rita De Vito, Silvia Leoni, Gian Franco Bottazzo, Andrea Masotti, Valerio Nobili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an emerging disease with a broad spectrum of liver conditions. The complex molecular pathogenesis of NAFLD is still unclear. In this study, we conducted an analysis of microRNA (miRNA) expression profiles in liver of rats made NAFLD by different diets. To this aim, Sprague-Dawley rats were fed ad libitum for 3 months with different diets: standard diet (SD), diet enriched in fats and low in carbohydrates (HFD), SD with high fructose (SD-HF) and diet with high levels of fats and fructose (HFD-HF). Our results demonstrated that the treatment with different dietetic regimens caused a significant increase of the body weight and the alteration of some metabolic parameters compared with control animals, as well as various liver injuries. The miRNAs analysis showed the significant downregulation of three miRNAs (miR-122, miR-451 and miR-27) and the upregulation of miR-200a, miR-200b and miR-429 in HFD, SD-HF and HFD-HF rats. Besides, miR-21 expression was significantly decreased only in fructose-enriched diets. These miRNAs target molecules involved in the control of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, signal transduction, cytokine and chemokine-mediated signaling pathway and apoptosis. Western blot analysis of PKCδ, LITAF, ALDOLASE-A, p38M.A.PK, PTEN, LIPIN1, EPHRIN-A1, EPHA2 and FLT1 showed a diet-induced deregulation of all these proteins. Interestingly, the expression pattern of LITAF, PTEN, LIPIN1, EPHRIN-A1, EPHA2 and FLT1 might be well explained by the trend of their specific mRNAs, by potentially regulatory miRNAs, or both. In conclusion, we highlight for the first time the potential involvement of novel determinants (miRNAs and proteins) in the molecular pathogenesis of diet-induced NAFLD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-293
Number of pages11
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • microRNA
  • steatohepatitis
  • targets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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