Leptin reduces microRNA-122 level in hepatic stellate cellsin vitroandin vivo

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Obese patients, often accompanied by hyperleptinemia, are more likely to develop liver fibrosis. Leptin, an adipocyte-derived hormone, augments inflammatory in liver and promotes hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation (a key step for liver fibrogenesis) and liver fibrosis. microRNA-122 (miR-122) is the most abundant liver-specific miRNA and can attenuate liver fibrosis. This study examined the effect of leptin on miR-122 level in HSCs in vivo and in vitro. Results demonstrated that leptin reduced the levels of both miR-122 (mature miR-122) and primary miR-122 (pri-miR-122). The effects of leptin on the levels of miR-122 and pri-miR-122 were through at least hedgehog pathway. Leptin-induced decrease in sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c) has been shown to contribute to leptin-induced HSC activation. We revealed a mutual promotional effect between SREBP-1c and miR-122. Further experiments indicated that miR-122 inhibited leptin-induced liver fibrosis in leptin-deficient mouse model. These data have potential implications for clarifying the mechanisms of hepatic fibrogenesis associated with elevated leptin level in human such as obese patients

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