Differential expression of angiogenesis-related miRNAs and VEGFA in cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma
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Departament of Molecular Biology, UPGEM – Genetics and Molecular Biology Research Unit, São José do Rio Preto Medical School – FAMERP, São José do Rio Preto, Brazil
Study Group of Liver Tumors – GETF, Hospital de Base – São José do Rio Preto (SP) and Medical School Foundation – FUNFARME – São José do Rio Preto, Brazil
Submission date: 2017-10-11
Final revision date: 2018-01-08
Acceptance date: 2018-01-24
Online publication date: 2020-08-10
Publication date: 2020-08-06
Arch Med Sci 2020;16(5):1150–1157
Liver cirrhosis (LC) is a heterogeneous liver disease, the last stage of liver fibrosis, and the major risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Our study aimed to evaluate the expression of microRNAs and the endothelial vascular growth factor (VEGFA) gene in LC and HCC.

Material and methods:
The sample group consisted of 46 tissue samples: 21 of LC, 15 of HCC, and 10 of non-tumoural and non-cirrhotic liver tissue (control group). MiRNAs were chosen based on a mirDIP prediction database as regulators of the VEGFA gene. Gene expression of VEGF and miRNAs was quantified by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. VEGFA protein expression was evaluated by ELISA.

VEGFA gene expression was significantly overexpressed in LC compared to the control group (p < 0.0001). Hsa-miR-206 (p = 0.0313) and hsa-miR-637 (p = 0.0156) were down-expressed in LC. In HCC, hsa-miR-15b (p = 0.0010), hsa-miR-125b (p = 0.0010), hsa-miR-423-3p (p = 0.0010), hsa-miR-424 (p = 0.0313), hsa-miR-494 (p < 0.0001), hsa-miR-497 (p < 0.0001), hsa-miR-612 (p = 0.0078), hsa-miR-637 (p < 0.0001), and hsa-miR-1255b (p = 0.0156) presented down-expression.

Overexpression of VEGFA in LC suggests impairment of angiogenesis in this tissue. The differential expression of microRNAs in LC and HCC observed in our study can lead to the evaluation of possible biomarkers for these diseases.