Circulating levels of microRNA-122 and hepatic fat change in response to weight-loss interventions: CENTRAL Trial

Mengying Wang, Qiaochu Xue, Xiang Li, Knut Krohn, Stefanie Ziesche, Uta Ceglarek, Matthias Blüher, Maria Keller, Anat Yaskolka Meir, Yoriko Heianza, Peter Kovacs, Iris Shai, Lu Qi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Little is known about the relations between changes in circulating microRNA-122 (miR-122) and liver fat in response to weight-loss interventions. We aimed to investigate the association between miR-122 and changes of hepatic fat content during 18-month diet and physical activity interventions. METHODS: The CENTRAL trial is an 18-month randomized, controlled trial among adults with abdominal obesity or dyslipidemia. Subjects were randomly assigned to a low-fat diet or a Mediterranean/low-carbohydrate diet. After 6 months of dietary intervention, each diet group was further randomized into added physical activity groups or no added physical activity groups for the following 12 months of intervention. The current study included 220 participants at baseline and 134 participants with repeated measurements on serum miR-122 and hepatic fat content over 18 months. RESULTS: Serum miR-122 significantly increased from baseline to 18 months, while no difference was observed across the 4 intervention groups. We found a significant association between miR-122 and hepatic fat content at baseline, as per unit increment in log-transformed miR-122 was associated with 3.79 higher hepatic fat content (P < 0.001). Furthermore, we found that higher elevations in miR-122 were associated with less reductions in hepatic fat percentage during 18-month interventions (β = 1.56, P = 0.002). We also found a significant interaction between changes in miR-122 and baseline fasting plasma glucose with hepatic fat content changes in 18 months (P interaction = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that participants with higher elevation in serum miR-122 may benefit less in reduction of hepatic fat content in response to diet and physical activity interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1899-e1906
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • hepatic fat
  • microRNA-122
  • randomized controlled trial
  • weight-loss interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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