1a Center for Genes, Environment, and Health, National Jewish Health , 1400 Jackson Street, Denver , CO 80206 .
2b Department of Medical Genetics and Molecular Biochemistry , Temple University School of Medicine , 3500 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia , PA 19140 .
Abstract/Summary Liver biopsy is currently recognized as the most accurate method for diagnosing and staging nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, this procedure is typically performed when disease has progressed to clinically significant stages, thereby limiting early diagnosis of patients who are at high risk for development of liver- and cardiovascular-related morbidity and mortality. Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs), short, noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression, have been associated with histological features of NAFLD and are readily detected in the circulation. As such, miRNAs are emerging as potentially useful noninvasive markers with which to follow the progression of NAFLD. In this article, we present the evidence linking circulating miRNAs with NAFLD and discuss the potential value of circulating miRNA profiles in the development of improved methods for NAFLD diagnosis and clinical monitoring of disease progression.