Ongoing research is being conducted in the field of transplantation to discover novel, noninvasive biomarkers for assessment of graft quality before transplantation and monitoring of graft injury after transplantation. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are among the most promising in this field. MiRNAs are small noncoding RNAs that function as important regulators of gene expression in response to cellular stress and disease. An advantage that makes miRNAs attractive candidates for biomarker research is their fast release from cells in response to stress and injury, which can occur via different routes. In the context of liver transplantation (LT), noninvasive measurement and stability of extracellular miRNAs in blood, bile, and graft perfusates has been linked to cell-type specific injury and early graft outcome following LT. Furthermore, specific intrahepatic miRNA expression patterns have been associated with graft survival and recurrent disease, like hepatitis C virus-related fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Therefore, miRNAs with strong predictive value and high sensitivity and specificity might be successfully applied to assess hepatic injury and to diagnose (recurrent) liver disease before, during and after LT. In this review, the current features and future prospects of miRNAs as biomarkers in and out of the liver are discussed.

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Transplant International
Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Farid, W., Verhoeven, R., de Jonge, J., Metselaar, H., Kazemier, G., & van der Laan, L. (2014). The ins and outs of microRNAs as biomarkers in liver disease and transplantation. Transplant International (Vol. 27, pp. 1222–1232). doi:10.1111/tri.12379