OBJECTIVES: Current blood tests to diagnose feline liver diseases are suboptimal. Serum concentrations of microRNA (miR)-122 have been shown in humans, dogs and rodents to be a sensitive and specific biomarker for liver injury. To explore the potential diagnostic utility of measuring serum concentrations of miR-122 in cats, miR-122 was measured in a cohort of ill, hospitalised cats with known serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity.
METHODS: In this retrospective study, cats were grouped into those with an ALT activity within the reference interval (0-83 U/l; n = 38) and those with an abnormal ALT activity (>84 U/l; n = 25). Serum concentrations of miR-122 were measured by real-time quantitative PCR and the relationship between miR-122 and ALT was examined.
RESULTS: miR-122 was significantly higher in the group with high ALT activity than the ALT group, within normal reference limits (P <0.0004). There was also a moderately positive correlation between serum ALT activity and miR-122 concentrations (P <0.001; r = 0.52).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Concentrations of miR-122 were reliably quantified in feline serum and were higher in a cohort of cats with increased ALT activity than in cats with normal ALT activity. This work highlights the potential diagnostic utility of miR-122 as a biomarker of liver damage in cats and encourages further investigation to determine the sensitivity and specificity of miR-122 as a biomarker of hepatocellular injury in this species.
- Alanine Transaminase
- Cat Diseases/diagnosis
- Dog Diseases/diagnosis
- Liver Diseases/veterinary
- Retrospective Studies