Introduction: Ischemia-Reperfusion (I/R) injuries are caused by complex interrelated
mechanisms and pathways. Regarding the liver, I/R injuries and their clinical manifestations are crucial
for the surgical outcome. Despite its importance, there is no broadly accepted therapy either for
the prevention or for the management of I/R injury. I/R injury of the liver can occur either during hepatic
surgery (warm) or during the transplantation procedure (cold). MicroRNAs play a pivotal role
in the mechanism of I/R injury, as they regulate the expression of the cellular participants and humoral
factors associated with I/R injury.
Objective: In this review, we highlight the microRNAs that are involved in the I/R injury of the liver,
and the molecular pathways that they regulate. In addition, we discuss the potential role of circulating
microRNAs as biomarkers and their role as pharmacological targets in the prevention, diagnosis and
treatment of I/R injuries.
Method: We conducted a comprehensive review of the PubMed bibliographic database regarding
microRNAs and I/R injuries of the liver.
Results: In diagnostics, microRNA panels could replace invasive diagnostic procedures, relieving
patients of the associated complications. In therapeutics, microRNAs, agomirs, antagomirs and other
drugs can be used to shift the balance between proapoptotic and survival pathways, to alleviate the
liver damage caused by I/R. In transplantation procedures, microRNA profiling could decrease the
incidence of early graft dysfunction, especially regarding marginal grafts.
Conclusion: Although microRNAs seem a very promising clinical tool in the management of I/R injuries,
further research is required, until microRNAs become a novel tool in the diagnosis and monitoring
of an I/R injury of the liver.