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Decreased levels of microRNA miR-122 in individuals with hepatitis C responding poorly to interferon therapy


Several microRNAs (miRNAs), including liver-specific miR-122, have been implicated in the control of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA replication and its response to interferon (IFN) in human hepatoma cells. Our analysis of liver biopsies from subjects with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) undergoing IFN therapy revealed no correlation of miR-122 expression with viral load and markedly decreased pretreatment miR-122 levels in subjects who had no virological response during later IFN therapy; other investigated miRNAs showed only limited changes. These data have implications for the prospect of targeting miRNAs for CHC therapy.

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Figure 1: MiR-122 levels in livers of subjects with CHC.
Figure 2: Effect of IFN on levels of miRNAs in mouse liver and human hepatoma Huh7 cells.


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We would like to thank the subjects who participated in this study. The work done in the laboratory of M.H.H. is supported by Swiss National Science Foundation grant 32-116106, the Swiss Cancer League grant KLS-01832-02-2006, grant 8/05 from the Krebsliga Basel and a grant from the Roche Research Foundation to M.S.-F. The work done in the laboratory of W.F. is supported partially by the EC FP6 Program “Sirocco”. J.K. is the recipient of a Long-Term European Molecular Biology Organization Fellowship, and the Friedrich Miescher Institute is supported by the Novartis Research Foundation.

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M.S.-F., J.K., M.H.H. and W.F. conceived and designed the experiments; M.S.-F., J.K. and I.M. performed the experiments; M.S.-F. and J.K. analyzed the data and contributed to writing and editing the manuscript; M.H.H. and W.F. supervised the project and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Markus H Heim or Witold Filipowicz.

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Supplementary Methods, Supplementary Table 1 and Supplementary Figs. 1–8 (PDF 621 kb)

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Sarasin-Filipowicz, M., Krol, J., Markiewicz, I. et al. Decreased levels of microRNA miR-122 in individuals with hepatitis C responding poorly to interferon therapy. Nat Med 15, 31–33 (2009).

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