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The role of micro-RNAs in phenotype expression of Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Grant number: 18/04132-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2018
Effective date (End): July 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine - Medical Clinics
Principal Investigator:Claudia Pinto Marques Souza de Oliveira
Grantee:Pedro Fernandes Andrade
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina (FM). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common liver disease nowadays. It covers a large amount of diseases, being able to present itself as simple steatosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).The NAFLD has an increasing incidence and prevalence around the world and until today it wasn't develop a diagnostic method that can replace hepatic biopsy. Furthermore, it doesn't exist efficient biomarkers that can predict the evolution to steatohepatitis and cirrhosis. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop methods that can early identify patients at higher risk in a non invasive way. The NAFLD has multifactorial etiology, and it evolution is clearly influenced by environmental, genetic and epigenetic factors. Among epigenetic mechanisms, microRNAs are the most studied in liver diseases. Numerous microRNAs have been associated with NAFLD, among them the miR-122, miR-29, miR-33a, miR-21, miR-155 and miR-181.The purpose of this project is to study the relation between the serum levels of micro-RNAs (miR-122, miR-29, miR-33a, miR-21, miR-155 and miR-181) and the phenotypic expression of NAFLD.A cross-sectional study will be performed in patients with NAFLD diagnosed by hepatic biopsy, in which clinical, epidemiological, biochemical and mainly histological (degree of fibrosis and score for evaluation of necroinflamatory activity) data will be analyzed and correlated with serum levels of the micro-RNAs above mentioned. This project aims to better understand the role of micro-RNAs in the various phenotypes of NAFLD, as well as better recognition of these nucleic acids as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, besides become potential therapeutic targets in NAFLD.

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