Circulating miRNA is a useful diagnostic biomarker for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Tae Hyung Kim, Yoonseok Lee, Young Sun Lee, Jeong An Gim, Eunjung Ko, Sun Young Yim, Young Kul Jung, Seong Hee Kang, Moon Young Kim, Hayeon Kim, Baek hui Kim, Ji Hoon Kim, Yeon Seok Seo, Hyung Joon Yim, Jong Eun Yeon, Soon Ho Um, Kwan Soo Byun

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is considered as a progressive form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). To distinguish NASH from nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL), we evaluated the diagnostic value of circulating miRNAs. Small RNA sequencing was performed on 12 NAFL patients and 12 NASH patients, and the miRNA expression was compared. After selecting miRNAs for the diagnosis of NASH, we analyzed the diagnostic accuracy of each miRNA and the combination of miRNAs. External validation was performed using quantitative reverse transcription PCR. Among the 2,588 miRNAs, 26 miRNAs significantly increased in the NASH group than in the NAFL group. Among the 26 elevated miRNAs in the NASH group, 8 miRNAs were selected, and in silico analysis was performed. Only four miRNAs (miR-21-5p, miR-151a-3p, miR-192-5p, and miR-4449) showed significant area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) values for NASH diagnosis. The combination of the four miRNAs showed satisfactory diagnostic accuracy for NASH (AUC 0.875; 95% CI 0.676–0.973). External validation revealed similar diagnostic accuracy for NASH (AUC 0.874; 95% CI 0.724–0.960). NASH represents significantly distinct miRNA expression profile compared with NAFL. The combination of serum circulating miRNAs can be used as a novel biomarker for the NASH diagnosis in NAFLD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14639
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea grant from the Korean government (the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, 2021R1C1C1009445 and 2019M3E5D1A01068997) and Korea University Ansan Hospital (O2000341). We appreciate to Kanehisa Laboratories for permission to use KEGG pathway map.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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