Delivery and targeting of miRNAs for treating liver fibrosis

Virender Kumar, Ram I. Mahato

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Liver fibrosis is a pathological condition originating from liver damage that leads to excess accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins in the liver. Viral infection, chronic injury, local inflammatory responses and oxidative stress are the major factors contributing to the onset and progression of liver fibrosis. Multiple cell types and various growth factors and inflammatory cytokines are involved in the induction and progression of this disease. Various strategies currently being tried to attenuate liver fibrosis include the inhibition of HSC activation or induction of their apoptosis, reduction of collagen production and deposition, decrease in inflammation, and liver transplantation. Liver fibrosis treatment approaches are mainly based on small drug molecules, antibodies, oligonucleotides (ODNs), siRNA and miRNAs. MicroRNAs (miRNA or miR) are endogenous noncoding RNA of ∼22 nucleotides that regulate gene expression at post transcription level. There are several miRNAs having aberrant expressions and play a key role in the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis. Single miRNA can target multiple mRNAs, and we can predict its targets based on seed region pairing, thermodynamic stability of pairing and species conservation. For in vivo delivery, we need some additional chemical modification in their structure, and suitable delivery systems like micelles, liposomes and conjugation with targeting or stabilizing the moiety. Here, we discuss the role of miRNAs in fibrogenesis and current approaches of utilizing these miRNAs for treating liver fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-361
Number of pages21
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2015


  • Epithelial to mesenchymal transition
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Liver fibrosis
  • MicroRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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