Identification of miR-31-5p, miR-141-3p, miR-200c-3p, and GLT1 as human liver aging markers sensitive to donor–recipient age-mismatch in transplants

Miriam Capri, Fabiola Olivieri, Catia Lanzarini, Daniel Remondini, Vincenzo Borelli, Raffaella Lazzarini, Laura Graciotti, Maria Cristina Albertini, Elena Bellavista, Aurelia Santoro, Fiammetta Biondi, Enrico Tagliafico, Elena Tenedini, Cristina Morsiani, Grazia Pizza, Francesco Vasuri, Antonietta D'Errico, Alessandro Dazzi, Sara Pellegrini, Alessandra MagentaMarco D'Agostino, Maurizio C. Capogrossi, Matteo Cescon, Maria Rita Rippo, Antonio Domenico Procopio, Claudio Franceschi, Gian Luca Grazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To understand why livers from aged donors are successfully used for transplants, we looked for markers of liver aging in 71 biopsies from donors aged 12–92 years before transplants and in 11 biopsies after transplants with high donor–recipient age-mismatch. We also assessed liver function in 36 age-mismatched recipients. The major findings were the following: (i) miR-31-5p, miR-141-3p, and miR-200c-3p increased with age, as assessed by microRNAs (miRs) and mRNA transcript profiling in 12 biopsies and results were validated by RT–qPCR in a total of 58 biopsies; (ii) telomere length measured by qPCR in 45 samples showed a significant age-dependent shortage; (iii) a bioinformatic approach combining transcriptome and miRs data identified putative miRs targets, the most informative being GLT1, a glutamate transporter expressed in hepatocytes. GLT1 was demonstrated by luciferase assay to be a target of miR-31-5p and miR-200c-3p, and both its mRNA (RT–qPCR) and protein (immunohistochemistry) significantly decreased with age in liver biopsies and in hepatic centrilobular zone, respectively; (iv) miR-31-5p, miR-141-3p and miR-200c-3p expression was significantly affected by recipient age (older environment) as assessed in eleven cases of donor–recipient extreme age-mismatch; (v) the analysis of recipients plasma by N-glycans profiling, capable of assessing liver functions and biological age, showed that liver function recovered after transplants, independently of age-mismatch, and recipients apparently ‘rejuvenated’ according to their glycomic age. In conclusion, we identified new markers of aging in human liver, their relevance in donor–recipient age-mismatches in transplantation, and offered positive evidence for the use of organs from old donors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-272
Number of pages11
JournalAging Cell
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2017


  • age-mismatches
  • allograft
  • elderly donors
  • GLT1
  • microRNAs
  • N-glycans
  • telomere length

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Identification of miR-31-5p, miR-141-3p, miR-200c-3p, and GLT1 as human liver aging markers sensitive to donor–recipient age-mismatch in transplants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this