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Comprehensive analysis of liver and blood miRNA in precancerous conditions

Abstract

Streptozotocin administration to mice (STZ-mice) induces type I diabetes and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We attempted to elucidate the carcinogenic mechanism and the miRNA expression status in the liver and blood during the precancerous state. Serum and liver tissues were collected from STZ-mice and non-treated mice (CTL-mice) at 6, 10, and 12 W. The exosome enriched fraction extracted from serum was used. Hepatic histological examination and hepatic and exosomal miRNA expression analysis were serially performed using next-generation sequencing (NGS). Human miRNA expression analysis of chronic hepatitis liver tissue and exosomes, which were collected before starting the antiviral treatment, were also performed. No inflammation or fibrosis was found in the liver of CTL-mice during the observation period. In STZ-mice, regeneration and inflammation of hepatocytes was found at 6 W and nodules of atypical hepatocytes were found at 10 and 12 W. In the liver tissue, during 6–12 W, the expression levels of let-7f-5p, miR-143-3p, 148a-3p, 191-5p, 192-5p, 21a-5p, 22-3p, 26a-5p, and 92a-3p was significantly increased in STZ-mice, and anti-oncogenes of their target gene candidates were down-regulated. miR-122-5p was also significantly down-regulated in STZ-mice. Fifteen exosomal miRNAs were upregulated in STZ-mice. Six miRNAs (let-7f-5p, miR-10b-5p, 143-3p, 191-5p, 21a-5p, and 26a-5p) were upregulated, similarly to human HCC cases. From the precancerous state, aberrant expression of hepatic miRNAs has already occurred, and then, it can promote carcinogenesis. In exosomes, the expression pattern of common miRNAs between mice and humans before carcinogenesis was observed and can be expected to be developed as a cancer predictive marker.

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