Comprehensive microRNA profiling in acetaminophen toxicity identifies novel circulating biomarkers for human liver and kidney injury Academic Article uri icon


  • Our objective was to identify microRNA (miRNA) biomarkers of drug-induced liver and kidney injury by profiling the circulating miRNome in patients with acetaminophen overdose. Plasma miRNAs were quantified in age- and sex-matched overdose patients with (N = 27) and without (N = 27) organ injury (APAP-TOX and APAP-no TOX, respectively). Classifier miRNAs were tested in a separate cohort (N = 81). miRNA specificity was determined in non-acetaminophen liver injury and murine models. Sensitivity was tested by stratification of patients at hospital presentation (N = 67). From 1809 miRNAs, 75 were 3-fold or more increased and 46 were 3-fold or more decreased with APAP-TOX. A 16 miRNA classifier model accurately diagnosed APAP-TOX in the test cohort. In humans, the miRNAs with the largest increase (miR-122-5p, miR-885-5p, miR-151a-3p) and the highest rank in the classifier model (miR-382-5p) accurately reported non-acetaminophen liver injury and were unaffected by kidney injury. miR-122-5p was more sensitive than ALT for reporting liver injury at hospital presentation, especially combined with miR-483-3p. A miRNA panel was associated with human kidney dysfunction. In mice, miR-122-5p, miR-151a-3p and miR-382-5p specifically reported APAP toxicity - being unaffected by drug-induced kidney injury. Profiling of acetaminophen toxicity identified multiple miRNAs that report acute liver injury and potential biomarkers of drug-induced kidney injury.


  • Vliegenthart, ADB
  • Shaffer, JM
  • Clarke, JI
  • Peeters, LEJ
  • Caporali, A
  • Bateman, DN
  • Wood, DM
  • Dargan, PI
  • Craig, DG
  • Moore, JK
  • Thompson, AI
  • Henderson, NC
  • Webb, DJ
  • Sharkey, J
  • Antoine, DJ
  • Park, BK
  • Bailey, MA
  • Lader, E
  • Simpson, KJ
  • Dear, JW

publication date

  • December 2015