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Open Access Differential Expression of MicroRNAs in Hepatitis C Virus-Mediated Liver Disease Between African Americans and Caucasians: Implications for Racial Health Disparities

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African Americans (AAs) have higher hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) mortality rates than Caucasian Americans (CAs). Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection leads to cirrhosis and HCC. HCV infection is highly prevalent in the AA population compared to other racial groups. AAs are also less likely to naturally clear HCV, potentially contributing to higher prevalence of HCV. However, the explanation for this disparity is currently unknown. Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) in the blood are emerging as biomarkers for pathological conditions. Expression analysis of miRNAs in major racial groups would be important for optimizing personalized treatment strategies. Here we assessed the differential expression of circulatory miRNAs from HCV-infected AA and CA patients. We identified increased expression of miR-146a, miR-150, and miR-155 in HCV-infected AA patient sera compared to that of CA. Further analysis demonstrated that these miRNAs were significantly elevated in AA patients diagnosed with HCV-mediated HCC. Higher expression of miR-150 was also noted in cirrhosis and HCC in AA patients, which may serve as a predictor of liver disease progression in this population. The differential expression of miRNAs suggests that these miRNAs and their target genes could be useful to gain further mechanistic insight of racial disparity associated with HCV-mediated pathogenesis.
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Keywords: African Americans; Caucasian Americans; Hepatitis C virus (HCV); Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); MicroRNAs (miRNAs)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Pathology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA

Publication date: February 10, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Gene Expression The Journal of Liver Research will publish articles in all aspects of hepatology. Hepatology, as a research discipline, has seen unprecedented growth especially in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of hepatic health and disease, which continues to have a major impact on understanding liver development, stem cells, carcinogenesis, tissue engineering, injury, repair, regeneration, immunology, metabolism, fibrosis, and transplantation. Continued research and improved understanding in these areas will have a meaningful impact on liver disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The existing journal Gene Expression has expanded its focus to become Gene Expression The Journal of Liver Research to meet this growing demand. In its revised and expanded scope, the journal will publish high-impact original articles, reviews, short but complete articles, and special articles (editorials, commentaries, opinions) on all aspects of hepatology, making it a unique and invaluable resource for readers interested in this field. The expanded team, led by an Editor-in-Chief who is uniquely qualified and a renowned expert, along with a dynamic and functional editorial board, is determined to make this a premier journal in the field of hepatology.

    From Volume 16, Gene Expression The Journal of Liver Research is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND license.

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