Significance of miRNA-122 in chronic hepatitis C patients with serotype 1 on interferon therapy

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Peginterferon (PEG IFN) and ribavirin combination therapy is a curative treatment for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and virological response to IFN therapy has been strongly associated with genetic variation in IL28B single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP). Recently, miRNA122 (miR-122), which is the most abundant miRNA in the liver, has been reported to be important for the replication of HCV RNA. Therefore, we investigated the correlation of miR-122 expression with virological response to IFN and other clinical data.


A total of 51 patients with HCV infection who were treated with IFN therapy at Nagasaki University Hospital from 2006 to 2011 were included in this study. We investigated the correlation of miR-122 expression in liver biopsy specimens with virological response to IFN therapy and other predictors of response, including IL28 SNP.


miR-122 expression did not correlate with IL28 SNP. However, a significant difference was observed in miR-122 expression between patients who showed a sustained virological response (SVR) and those who did not (P < 0.05). Multivariate analysis indicated that miR-122 is an independent predictor of SVR.


miR-122 expression could be a marker for predicting the outcome of IFN therapy. Therapies targeting miR-122 may have positive effects not only by directly inhibiting viral propagation but also by ameliorating cholesterol and lipid abnormalities.

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