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Hepatic disease

Liver disease

MicroRNA-21 (miR-21)

Studies in mice and in human samples suggest antagonizing miR-21 could help treat liver fibrosis. Activation of hepatic stellate cells, which transdifferentiate into collagen-producing myofibroblasts, leads to hepatic fibrosis. In human tissue samples from patients with liver fibrosis and in mouse models of liver fibrosis, miR-21 expression was higher in myofibroblasts than in other cells. In the mouse models, an antagomir targeting miR-21 decreased fibrogenic collagen deposition compared with a control antagomir. Next steps include testing miR-21-targeted antagomirs in additional models of fibrosis.
Regulus Therapeutics Inc. and partner Sanofi have antagomirs targeting miR-21 in preclinical testing to treat liver cancer and renal damage.

SciBX 7(1); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.21
Published online Jan. 9, 2014

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Zhang, Z. et al. J. Biol. Chem.; published online Nov. 6, 2013;
Contact: Junfeng Zhang, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
Contact: Lei Dong, same affiliation as above