miR-192-5p has gained increasing relevance in various diseases, however, its function in acute liver injury is currently unknown. We analysed miR-192-5p serum levels and hepatic miR-192-5p expression in mice after hepatic ischaemia and reperfusion (I/R) as well as in toxic liver injury. On a functional level, miRNA levels were analysed in the different hepatic cell-compartments and in the context of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-dependent liver cell death. We detected increased serum levels of miR-192-5p after hepatic I/R- and carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver injury. miR-192-5p levels correlated with the degree of liver damage and the presence of hepatic cell death detected by TUNEL stainings (terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP biotin nick-end labelling stainings). Moreover, expression of miR-192-5p was increased in a hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) model of in vitro hepatocyte injury, supporting that the passive release of miR-192-5p represents a surrogate for hepatocyte death in liver injury. In critically ill patients, miR-192-5p levels were elevated selectively in patients with liver injury and closely correlated with the presence of hepatic injury. In contrast with up-regulated miR-192-5p in the serum, we detected a down-regulation of miR-192-5p in both injured mouse and human livers. Deregulation of miR-192-5p in livers was dependent on stimulation with TNF. Functional experiments confirmed a protective effect of down-regulation of miR-192-5p in hepatocytes, suggesting a role of miR-192-5p in limiting liver injury. Finally, we identified Zeb2, an important regulator of cell death, as a potential target gene mediating the function of miR-192-5p. Our data suggest that miR-192-5p is involved in the regulation of liver cell death during acute liver injury and might represent a potent marker of hepatic injury.

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