Lin28 and let-7: roles and regulation in liver diseases.
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The diagnosis and treatment of liver disease remain a major health concern worldwide because of the diverse etiologies of this disease. For this reason, new therapeutic targets are greatly needed to halt the progression of this damaging disease. Upon initiation of liver injury by viral infection, autoimmune disease or toxin, and/or hepatitis, chronic disease may develop, which can progress to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), cholangiocarcinoma, liver failure, or death. The Lin28/lethal-7 (let-7) molecular switch has emerged as a central regulator of multiorgan injuries and cancer development. Lin28 is a stem cell marker vital to initiation or maintenance of a stem cell phenotype. Lin28 has not been extensively studied in the liver, despite its ability to induce tissue regeneration via reprogramming of oxidative enzymes in other tissues and its involvement with numerous upstream regulators and downstream targets in liver disease. Theoretically, overexpression of Lin28 in certain forms of liver disease could be a potential treatment that aids in liver regeneration. Alternatively, Lin28 has been implicated numerous times in the progression of diverse cancer types and is associated with increased severity of disease. In this case, Lin28 could be a potential inhibitory target to prevent malignant transformation in the liver. This review seeks to characterize the role of Lin28 in liver disease.