Large-scale screening of circulating microRNAs in individuals with HIV-1 mono-infections reveals specific liver damage signatures

Sandra Franco, Daniela Buccione, Raquel Pluvinet, Beatriz Mothe, Lidia Ruiz, Maria Nevot, Ana Jordan-Paiz, Laia Ramos, Susanna Aussó, Rosa M. Morillas, Lauro Sumoy, Miguel Angel Martinez, Cristina Tural

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5 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-induced inflammation and/or long-term antiretroviral drug toxicity may contribute to the evolution of liver disease. We investigated circulating plasma microRNAs (miRNAs) as potential biomarkers of liver injury in patients mono-infected with HIV-1. We performed large-scale deep sequencing analyses of small RNA level on plasma samples from patients with HIV-1 mono-infection that had elevated or normal levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) or focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH). Hepatitis C virus (HCV) mono-infected patients were also studied. Compared to healthy donors, patients with HIV-1 or HCV mono-infections showed significantly altered (fold change >2, adjusted p < 0.05) level of 25 and 70 miRNAs, respectively. Of the 25 altered miRNAs found in patients with HIV-1, 19 were also found in patients mono-infected with HCV. Moreover, 13 of the 14 most up-regulated miRNAs (range: 9.3–3.4-fold increase) in patients with HCV mono-infections were also up-regulated in patients with HIV-1 mono-infections. Importantly, most of these miRNAs significantly and positively correlated with ALT and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels, and liver fibrosis stage (p < 0.05). MiR-122-3p and miR-193b-5p were highly up-regulated HIV-1 mono-infected patients with elevated ALT or FNH, but not in HIV-1 patients with normal levels of ALT. These results reveal that HIV-1 infections impacted liver-related miRNA levels in the absence of an HCV co-infection, which highlights the potential of miRNAs as biomarkers for the progression of liver injury in HIV-1 infected patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-114
JournalAntiviral Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Circulating microRNAs
  • HIV-1 infection
  • Liver disease


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