The prevalence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is still high worldwide because liver diseases could develop into HCC. Recent reports indicate nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NAFLD&NASH) and primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PBC&PSC) are significant of HCC. Therefore, understanding the cellular mechanisms of the pathogenesis and hepatocarcinogenesis from normal liver cells to HCC through NAFLD&NASH or PBC&PSC is a priority to prevent the progression of liver damage and reduce the risk of further complications. By the genetic and epigenetic data mining and the system identification through next-generation sequencing data and its corresponding DNA methylation profiles of liver cells in normal, NAFLD&NASH, PBC&PSC, and HCC patients, we identified the genome-wide real genetic and epigenetic networks (GENs) of normal, NAFLD&NASH, PBC&PSC, and HCC patients. In order to get valuable insight into these identified genome-wide GENs, we then applied a principal network projection method to extract the corresponding core GENs for normal liver cells, NAFLD&NASH, PBC&PSC, and HCC. By comparing the signal transduction pathways involved in the identified core GENs, we found that the hepatocarcinogenesis through NAFLD&NASH was induced through DNA methylation of HIST2H2BE, HSPB1, RPL30, and ALDOB and the regulation of miR-21 and miR-122, and the hepatocarcinogenesis through PBC&PSC was induced through DNA methylation of RPL23A, HIST2H2BE, TIMP1, IGF2, RPL30, and ALDOB and the regulation of miR-29a, miR-21, and miR-122. The genetic and epigenetic changes in the pathogenesis and hepatocarcinogenesis potentially serve as potential diagnostic biomarkers and/or therapeutic targets.
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