Although the role of autophagy has been implicated in several forms of chronic hepatitis, it is still not fully understood. Active autophagy eliminates damaged molecules and organelles (such as mitochondria) by lysosomal degradation. In the present study, we aimed to examine and compare autophagy activity in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) by detecting the expression of autophagy (LC3 and p62) and mitochondrium-related (TOMM20) proteins, as well as the levels of selected microRNAs (miR-101, -155, -204 and − 224) known to be involved in the regulation of autophagy. In addition, the expression levels were related to pathohistological parameters. Liver biopsy samples, including 45 CHC and 18 AIH cases, were immunohistochemically stained for LC3, p62 and TOMM20 and the expression of miRNAs was determined using real-time PCR. We found elevated LC3 and p62 in AIH samples as compared with CHC ones, indicating an activated autophagy that is impaired in AIH as no degradation of p62 seemed to occur. Moreover, p62 showed strong correlation with necroinflammatory grades in the AIH group. The observed elevated levels of TOMM20 and p62 suggest a less efficient elimination of damaged mitochondria in AIH as opposed to CHC, in which autophagy seems to have a more active function. The level of miR-101 was increased in case of CHC as compared with AIH, however, miR-155, -204 and 224 resulted in no expressional. Furthermore, miR-224 level correlated with steatosis and miR-155 expression with fibrosis stage in CHC. In conclusion, dissimilar autophagic activity was observed in CHC and AIH, suggesting a close association between impaired autophagy and severity of necroinflammation. This impairment may not be regulated by the analyzed miRNAs. Nevertheless, miR-224 and − 155 seem to be associated with CHC progression.
- Chronic hepatitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cancer Research