Autoimmune liver diseases (AILDs) are a group of liver disorders composed of autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) characterized by chronic hepatic and biliary inflammation. Although several genetic factors, such as HLA alleles, TNFA, and CTLA-4, have been reported in the pathogenesis of AILDs, many details remain unknown. In recent years, microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as crucial components in the diagnosis and therapeutic applications of various autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), glomerulonephritis, and AILDs. MiRNAs comprise a class of small, noncoding molecules of 19–25 nucleotides that modulate multiple genes by suppressing or degrading target mRNAs. Altered miRNA profiles have been identified in serum, immune cells, and live tissues from AILD patients. Elevated serum miR-21 and miR-122 levels in AIH patients as well as decreased miR-200c levels in PSC patients indicate their diagnostic utility. Highly expressed miR-122 and miR-378f as well as downregulated miR-4311 and miR-4714-3p in serum samples from refractory PBC patients suggest their potential to evaluate treatment efficacy. Moreover, miRNAs have been reported to participate in AILD development. Increased miR-506 levels may impair bile secretion in PBC by inhibiting Cl-/HCO3-anion exchanger 2 (AE2) and type III inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor-3 (InsP3R3). Additionally, different miRNA mimics or antagonists, such as atagomiR-155 and miR-223 mimics, have been widely applied in experimental AILD murine models with great efficacy. Here, we provide an overview of miRNAs in AILDs, aiming to summarize their potential roles in diagnosis and therapeutic interventions, and we discuss the challenges and future applications of miRNAs in clinical practice.
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