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MiR-22 is mostly considered as a hepatic tumor-suppressor microRNA based on in vitro analyses. Yet, whether miR-22 exerts a tumor-suppressive function in the liver has not been investigated in vivo. Herein, in silico analyses of miR-22 expression were performed in hepatocellular carcinomas from human patient cohorts and different mouse models. Diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatocellular carcinomas were then investigated in lean and diet-induced obese miR-22-deficient mice. The proteome of liver tissues from miR-22-deficient mice prior to hepatocellular carcinoma development was further analyzed to uncover miR-22 regulated factors that impact hepatocarcinogenesis with miR-22 deficiency. MiR-22 downregulation was consistently observed in hepatocellular carcinomas from all human cohorts and mouse models investigated. The time of appearance of the first tumors was decreased and the number of tumoral foci induced by diethylnitrosamine was significantly increased by miR-22-deficiency in vivo, two features which were further drastically exacerbated with diet-induced obesity. At the molecular level, we provide evidence that the loss of miR-22 significantly affects the energetic metabolism and mitochondrial functions of hepatocytes, and the expression of tumor-promoting factors such as thrombospondin-1. Our study demonstrates that miR-22 acts as a hepatic tumor suppressor in vivo by restraining pro-carcinogenic metabolic deregulations through pleiotropic mechanisms and the overexpression of relevant oncogenes.


Monika Gjorgjieva, Anne-Sophie Ay, Marta Correia de Sousa, Etienne Delangre, Dobrochna Dolicka, Cyril Sobolewski, Christine Maeder, Margot Fournier, Christine Sempoux, Michelangelo Foti. MiR-22 Deficiency Fosters Hepatocellular Carcinoma Development in Fatty Liver. Cells. 2022 Sep 14;11(18)

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PMID: 36139435

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