Investigation of a relationship between serum concentrations of microRNA-122 and ALT activity in hospitalised cats

Susan K. Armstrong, Wilna Oosthuyzen, Adam G Gow, Silke Salavati Schmitz, James W Dear, Richard J. Mellanby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives
Current blood tests to diagnose feline liver diseases are sub-optimal. Serum concentrations of microRNA-122 (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 felines, 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 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 RT-qPCR 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).

Conclusion and relevance
Concentrations of miR-122 were reliably quantified in feline serum and were higher in a cohort of cats with increased ALT activity compared to 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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
Early online date15 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jun 2022

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