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This article is the author's final published version in Physiological Genomics, Volume 53, Issue 12, December 2021, Pages 546 - 555.

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Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY 4.0.


Impaired liver regeneration has been considered as a hallmark of progression of alcohol-associated liver disease. Our previous studies demonstrated that in vivo inhibition of the microRNA (miRNA) miR21 can restore regenerative capacity of the liver in chronic ethanol-fed animals. The present study focuses on the role of microRNA regulatory networks that are likely to mediate the miR-21 action. Rats were chronically fed an ethanol-enriched diet along with pair-fed control animals and treated with AM21 (anti-miR-21), a locked nucleic acid antisense to miR-21. Partial hepatectomy (PHx) was performed and miRNA expression profiling over the course of liver regeneration was assessed. Our results showed dynamic expression changes in several miRNAs after PHx, notably with altered miRNA expression profiles between ethanol and control groups. We found that in vivo inhibition of miR-21 led to correlated differential expression of miR-340-5p and anticorrelated expression of miR-365, let-7a, miR-1224, and miR-146a across all sample groups after PHx. Gene set enrichment analysis identified a miRNA signature significantly associated with hepatic stellate cell activation within whole liver tissue data. We hypothesized that at least part of the PHx-induced miRNA network changes responsive to miR-21 inhibition is localized to hepatic stellate cells. We validated this hypothesis using AM21 and TGF-β treatments in LX-2 human hepatic stellate cells in culture and measured expression levels of select miRNAs by quantitative RT-PCR. Based on the in vivo and in vitro results, we propose a hepatic stellate cell miRNA regulatory network as contributing to the restoration of liver regenerative capacity by miR-21 inhibition.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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