1. Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Xi-Jing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an 710032, China.
2. Department of Ophthalmology, Xi-Jing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an 710032, China.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), or, more accurately, metabolic associated fatty liver disease, accounts for a large proportion of chronic liver disorders worldwide and is closely associated with other conditions such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. NAFLD ranges from simple steatosis to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and can progress to cirrhosis and, eventually, also hepatocellular carcinoma. The morbidity and mortality associated with NAFLD are increasing rapidly year on year. Consequently, there is an urgent need to understand the etiology and pathogenesis of NAFLD and identify effective therapeutic targets. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), important epigenetic factors, have recently been proposed to participate in NAFLD pathogenesis. Here, we review the roles of miRNAs in lipid metabolism, inflammation, apoptosis, fibrosis, hepatic stellate cell activation, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress, key factors that contribute to the occurrence and progression of NAFLD. Additionally, we summarize the role of miRNA-enriched extracellular vesicles in NAFLD. These miRNAs may comprise suitable therapeutic targets for the treatment of this condition.
Keywords: miRNAs, Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, NAFLD, Pathogenesis