Current liver research: microRNA 122 is a key player in lipid metabolism in the liver

17. August 2017

Effective treatments for hepatic steatosis are needed because patients suffering from this disease often develop liver cancer – the second leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide.
Now, the co-operating scientists from the CRC 841, Prof. Eithan Galun, Prof. Christoph Schramm and Dr. Johannes Kluwe(heads of subprojects C03, B03 und B07), could show that, a small non-coding RNA namely miR-122, plays an important role in the lipid metabolism in the liver.

Additionally, the scientists identified novel miR-122 target genes, which are involved in the triglyceride pathway. “In this study, we provide evidence for a metabolic circuit comprising FFAs, miR-122 and triglycerides by looking at the results of our molecular, histological and biochemical approaches as well as bioinformatic analysis” states Prof. Galun. “We could show, that free fatty acids (FFAs) increase miR-122 expression and its secretion in the blood”, explains Prof. Schramm.
All these findings underline the importance of miR-122 as one of the key regulators in energy and lipid metabolism. “Using this new knowledge about the mechanisms – the development of novel therapeutic approaches for liver steatosis can move forward”, Dr. Kluwe says.


Chai C, Rivkin M, Berkovits L, Simerzin A, Zorde-Khvalevsky E, Rosenberg N, Klein S, Yaish D, Durst R, Shpitzen S, Udi S, Tam J, Heeren J, Worthmann A, Schramm C, Kluwe J, Ravid R, Hornstein E, Giladi H, Galun E.

Metabolic Circuit Involving Free Fatty Acids, microRNA 122, and Triglyceride Synthesis in Liver and Muscle Tissues
Gastroenterology. 2017 Aug 9. pii: S0016-5085(17)36024-9. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2017.08.013. [Epub ahead of print]

Further Information

Here you can find further Information about the interesting projects of our CRC 841 scientists:

C3 in 60 SecondsVideoarchiv

B3 in 60 SecondsVideoarchiv

B7 in 60 SecondsVideoarchiv