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Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression by interacting with the 3′ untranslated region (3′-UTR) of multiple mRNAs. Recent studies have linked miRNAs to the development of cancer metastasis. In this study, we show that miR-194 is specifically expressed in the human gastrointestinal tract and kidney. Moreover, miR-194 is highly expressed in hepatic epithelial cells, but not in Kupffer cells or hepatic stellate cells, two types of mesenchymal cells in the liver. miR-194 expression was decreased in hepatocytes cultured in vitro, which had undergone a dedifferentiation process. Furthermore, expression of miR-194 was low in liver mesenchymal-like cancer cell lines. The overexpression of miR-194 in liver mesenchymal-like cancer cells reduced the expression of the mesenchymal cell marker N-cadherin and suppressed invasion and migration of the mesenchymal-like cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. We further demonstrated that miR-194 targeted the 3′-UTRs of several genes that were involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer metastasis. Conclusion: These results support a role of miR-194, which is specifically expressed in liver parenchymal cells, in preventing liver cancer cell metastasis. (HEPATOLOGY 2010;.)