1Department of Pharmacy, Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Calabria, 87036 Rende, Italy.
2Galascreen Laboratories, University of Calabria, 87036 Rende, Italy.
3Department of Health Sciences, University of Magna Graecia Catanzaro, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy.
4Infectious Disease Unit Annunziata Hospital, 87100 Cosenza, Italy.
5Microbiology Unit Pugliese Ciaccio Hospital, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy.
One of the major organs in the body with multiple functions is the liver. It plays a central role in the transformation of macronutrients and clearance of chemicals and drugs. The serum biomarkers often used to indicate liver damage are not specifically for drug-induced liver injury (DILI) or liver injury caused by other xenobiotics, nor for viral infection. In this case, microRNAs (miRNAs) could play an exciting role as biomarkers of specific liver damage. In this review, we aimed to update the current literature on liver damage induced by drugs, as acute conditions and viral infections mediated by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) linked these two conditions to advanced research, with a focus on microRNAs as early biomarkers for liver damage. The undoubtable evidence that circulating miR-122 could be used as a human biomarker of DILI came from several studies in which a strong increase of it was linked with the status of liver function. In infancy, there is the possibility of an early miRNA detection for hepatitis B virus infection, but there are a lack of solid models for studying the HVB molecular mechanism of infection in detail, even if miRNAs do hold unrealized potential as biomarkers for early detection of hepatitis B virus infection mediated by HBV.