Published online Apr 28, 2017. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v9.i12.586
Peer-review started: February 12, 2017
First decision: March 8, 2017
Revised: March 27, 2017
Accepted: April 6, 2017
Article in press: April 10, 2017
Published online: April 28, 2017
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNAs regulate gene expression by inhibiting the turnover of their target mRNAs. In the last years, it became apparent that miRNAs are released into the circulation and circulating miRNAs emerged as a new class of biomarkers for various diseases. In this review we summarize available data on the role of circulating miRNAs in the context of acute and chronic liver diseases including hepatocellular and cholangiocellular carcinoma. Data from animal models are compared to human data and current challenges in the field of miRNAs research are discussed.
Core tip: In this article, we aim to review the role of circulating microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small non-coding RNAs involved in various pathological processes, in the context of liver disease. The focus is on current and future applications of miRNAs as potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in the field of acute liver failure, liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, autoimmune liver disease as well as liver cancer.