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Integrative roles of microRNAs in lipid metabolism and dyslipidemia

Sedgeman, Leslie R.a; Michell, Danielle L.b; Vickers, Kasey C.a,b

Current Opinion in Lipidology: June 2019 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p 165–171
doi: 10.1097/MOL.0000000000000603
LIPID METABOLISM: Edited by Marit Westerterp and Bart van de Sluis

Purpose of review The purpose of the review is to discuss recent advances in microRNA (miRNA) regulation of lipid metabolism and highlight the importance of miRNA-mediated gene regulation in dyslipidemia and fatty liver disease. This article reviews examples of miRNAs that bridge disparate metabolic pathways in the liver. For example, we highlight miRNAs that are regulated by the sterol-sensing pathway in the liver that in turn regulate cellular or systemic cholesterol, fatty acid, and glucose levels.

Recent findings The most widely studied of these miRNAs are miR-33a/b; however, we recently reported that miRNAs in the miR-183/96/182 cluster are also likely regulated by hepatic cholesterol content and mediate the observed glucose-lowering effects of the bile acid sequestrant colesevelam through the sterol-sensing pathway. In addition, several other hepatic and adipose miRNAs have been recently demonstrated to be key regulators of cellular lipid synthesis, storage, and catabolism, as well as systemic lipid metabolism. Moreover, many of these miRNAs are altered in fatty liver disease and dyslipidemia.

Summary miRNAs are not just fine-tuners of lipid metabolism, but critical regulatory factors in lipid homeostasis and health. Loss of these miRNA regulatory modules very likely contributes to the underlying metabolic defects observed in lipid disorders.

aDepartment of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University

bDepartment of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, USA

Correspondence to Kasey C. Vickers, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2220 Pierce Avenue, 312 Preston Research Building, Nashville, TN 37232, USA. Tel: +1 615 936 2989; e-mail:

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