Vol. 15 Issue 5
On the cover: The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer and the third leading cause of cancer related death worldwide. In recent years, the prevalence of HCC has increased in both developing and developed countries. Most HCC cases develop in the presence of advanced chronic liver disease related to viral hepatitis. In particular hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infections are considered as major HCC risk factors worldwide. However, current studies provide strong evidence for increasing numbers of HCC in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD represents the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome which is based on obesity and insulin resistance. Epidemiologic data clearly demonstrates that NAFLD and obesity-related disorders are significant risk factors for tumor development in general and HCC in particular. As a consequence of life style changes towards higher calorie intake and less exercise, obesity and metabolic syndrome are spreading all over the world. Due to this increase in obesity and metabolic syndrome NAFLD-related HCC will become a major health care problem in the future. In conclusion, better understanding of the impact of NAFLD and obesity in the development of HCC will improve our treatment strategies of HCC and allow preventive measures.
The role of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, namely nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), as risk factor for liver- and non-liver-related morbidity and mortality has been extensively reported. In addition to lifestyle changes, capable of removing the metabolic factors driving disease progression, there is an urgent need for drugs able to reduce hepatic necroinflammation without worsening of fibrosis. This goal is considered by regulatory agencies as surrogate marker to define the effectiveness in pharmacological compounds in NASH, and fast-track approval was granted by the Food and Drug Administration in consideration of disease severity and unmet medical needs. Several compounds are in the pipeline of pharmaceutical industries and are being studied in phase II trials, but only a few (obeticholic acid, elafibranor) have started phase III trials. This concise review is intended to offer a systematic analysis of the most promising therapeutic intervention in NASH. In conclusion, there is reasonable expectation that drug may help curb the burden of NASH, and we look forward to obtaining solid data on their long-term safety and effectiveness. However, we should not forget that behavioral interventions remain a mandatory background treatment, able to stop disease progression in compliant overweight/ obese patients, with results that compare favorably with - and add to - the beneficial effects of drug treatment.
Background. T-cell populations regulate the balance of immune responses. The CD (Cluster of differentiation) 4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) are crucial for maintaining negative control of various immune responses. There are different T-cell subpopulations with regulatory functions, as natural killer T cells, CD8+ and CD28. The forkhead box P3 (FOXP3) regulates Treg development and is required for its suppressive function. Aim. To evaluate the hepatic expression of the intrahepatic Tregs, Ig (immunoglobulin) G and IgM plasma cells in autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and other chronic liver diseases (CLDs). Material and methods. This study included 100 pediatric patients; 50 AIH and 50 CLDs other than AIH. All patients were subjected to routine investigations of CLDs plus immune-staining of liver tissue for FOXp3, IgG and IgM plasma cells, CD4 and CD8 T-cells. Results. The FOXP3+ T cells in patients with AIH (6.3 ± 5) were significantly higher than that in the non-AIH (2.1 ± 2.6). FOXP3+ T cells were abundant in liver tissue with marked inflammatory cellular infiltrate. CD4+ and CD8+ infiltrating the liver tissue and IgG positive cells were significantly higher in AIH group, while the expression of IgM positive cells showed no significant difference. The IgG/IgM was significantly higher in the AIH treatment responders (3 ± 3) than non-responders (1.6 ± 0.5), while there was no significant difference regarding the intrahepatic expression of FOXP3+, CD4+, CD8+ cells, T-cells, IgG and IgM plasma cells. Conclusion. Intrahepatic Tregs were increased in number in patients with AIH in the initial presentation, and their presence is associated with increased activity and inflammation in liver biopsy.
Background. Patients with chronic HCV infection and superinfection by hepatitis A virus (HAV) or hepatitis B virus (HBV) have higher morbidity and mortality when compared with those without HCV infection. Therefore, HAV and HBV active immunization has become mandatory in this population and hence their serological markers must be determined. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of serological markers of HAV and HBV infection in patients with chronic HCV. Material and methods. One thousand chronic HCV patients at the University of São Paulo School of Medicine were evaluated for the prevalence of serological markers of HAV and HBV infection. Results. Anti-HAV IgG was positive in 92.3% of patients. When stratified by age, anti-HAV IgG was found in 61% of patients between 20-29 years, 70% on patients between 30-39 years, 85% on patients between 40-49 years, 94% on patients between 50-59 years, and in 99% on patients over 60 years of age. Anti-HBc IgG was positive in 244 patients (24%). Stratified by age, in 4.3% of patients between 20-29 years, 17% 30-39 years, 21% 40-49 years, 24% 50-59 years, and in 28% of patients over 60 years. Of the 244 anti-HBc IgG positive patients, 0.8% were HBsAg positive, 8.5% were anti-HBc IgG isolated and 16% were also anti-HBs positive. Conclusions. In conclusion, the prevalence of anti-HAV IgG was similar to the general Brazilian population. However, anti-HBc IgG was higher in our patients, when compared to general population of Western countries, emphasizing the importance of immunization programs for this population.
Background and aim. Resistance-associated variants (RAVs) on the NS3 region of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) may be relevant for antiviral therapy, but data in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfected patients are scarce. We assessed frequencies of NS3 RAVs in patients infected with HCV genotype 1a with or without HIV coinfection. Material and methods. HCV NS3 amino acids 1-181 were sequenced by the Sanger method and analyzed for RAVs. RAVs and their distribution between HCV genotype 1a clade I and II viruses were compared between HIV-infected versus HIV-uninfected patients. Results. 148 samples were available (n = 68 HIV and n = 80 non-HIV). Relative frequency of clade I and clade II was significantly different between HIV (85% and 15%) and non-HIV groups (49% and 51%). Overall, HIV infected patients exhibited significantly lower prevalence of RAVs than HIV-uninfected patients (62% vs. 79%, p = 0.03). However, Q80K prevalence was significantly higher in HIV-infected subjects (50% vs. 24%, p = 0.001), whereas prevalence of S122D/G/N/S (2% vs. 16%, p = 0.002) and N174G/N/S (10% vs. 55%, p < 0.0001) polymorphisms were significantly lower. Q80K was found exclusively in clade I viruses. S122 (3% vs. 22%, p=0.001) and N174 (13% vs. 75%, p<0.0001) polymorphisms had significantly lower prevalence in clade I than clade II viruses. Conclusions. In the Netherlands, prevalence of clade I viruses and Q80K was significantly higher in HCV genotype 1a infected patients with HIV coinfection than in those without HIV coinfection. Prevalence of N174 and S122 polymorphisms was significantly higher in clade II than clade I viruses.
Background and rational. Data on newer adipokines and interleukins in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are inconclusive. The primary aim of this study was the evaluation of serum vaspin, resistin, retinol-binding protein (RBP)-4, interleukin (IL)-1? and IL-6 levels in NAFLD patients compared to matched controls, and their association with disease severity. Material and methods. Twenty-nine consecutively enrolled NAFLD patients with histologically confirmed nonalcoholic simple steatosis (SS; n = 15) or steatohepatitis (NASH; n = 14) and 25 matched controls without NAFLD were recruited. Serum vaspin, resistin, RBP-4, IL-1? and IL-6 and biochemical tests were measured. Results. Serum vaspin levels were lower and IL-6 levels higher in NASH patients than controls, but similar between controls and SS patients, or NASH and SS patients (vaspin, controls: 728.5 ± 39.3; SS: 634.6 ± 63.7; NASH: 531.5 ± 52.0 pg/mL; p for trend 0.028; IL-6, controls: 1.5 ± 0.2; SS: 2.5 ± 0.6; NASH: 3.0 ± 0.6 pg/mL; p for trend 0.032). However, after adjustment for body mass index or waist circumference, both vaspin and IL-6 did not remain significantly different between groups. Resistin, RBP-4 and IL-1? were not statistically different between groups. None of the selected adipokines or interleukins could independently differentiate NAFLD from SS, or patients with more severe from less severe histological lesions. Conclusion. Lower circulating vaspin, but higher IL-6 levels were observed in NASH patients than controls, whereas resistin, RBP-4 and IL-1? levels were similar between groups. However, these differences did not remain robust after adjustment for body mass index or waist circumference.
Introduction and aim. Given that early identification of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an important issue for primary prevention of hepatic disease, the objectives of this study were to evaluate the efficacy of the product of triglyceride and glucose levels (TyG) for screening simple steatosis and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in asymptomatic women, and to compare its efficacy vs. other biomarkers for recognizing NAFLD. Material and methods. Asymptomatic women aged 20 to 65 years were enrolled into a cross-sectional study. The optimal values of TyG, for screening simple steatosis and NASH were established on a Receiver Operating Characteristic scatter plot; the sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratios of TyG index were estimated versus liver biopsy. According sensitivity and specificity, the efficacy of TyG was compared versus the well-known clinical biomarkers for recognizing NAFLD. Results. A total of 50 asymptomatic women were enrolled. The best cutoff point of TyG for screening simple steatosis was 4.58 (sensitivity 0.94, specificity 0.69); in addition, the best cutoff point of TyG index for screening NASH was 4.59 (sensitivity 0.87, specificity 0.69). The positive and negative likelihood ratios were 3.03 and 0.08 for simple steatosis, and 2.80 and 0.18 for NASH. As compared versus SteatoTest, NashTest, Fatty liver index, and Algorithm, the TyG showed to be the best test for screening. Conclusions. TyG has high sensitivity and low negative likelihood ratio; as compared with other clinical biomarkers, the TyG showed to be the best test for screening simple steatosis and NASH.
Background. Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are at risk for developing end-stage liver disease due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the aggressive form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Data on prevalence of advanced fibrosis among T2DM patients is scarce. Aim. To evaluate prevalence of steatosis, advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis using non-invasive methods in T2DM patients. Material and methods. 145 consecutive T2DM patients (> 55 years-old) were prospectively recruited. Presence of cirrhosis and advanced fibrosis was evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and NAFLD fibrosis score (NFS) respectively. Exclusion criteria included significant alcohol consumption, markers of viral hepatitis infection or other liver diseases. Results are expressed in percentage or median (interquartile range). Results. 52.6% of patients were women, the median age was 60 years old (57-64), mean BMI was 29.6 ± 4.7 kg/m2 and diabetes duration was 7.6 ± 6.9 years. A high prevalence of liver steatosis (63.9%), advanced fibrosis assessed by NFS (12.8%) and evidence of liver cirrhosis in MRI (6.0%) was observed. In a multivariate analysis GGT > 82 IU/L (P = 0.004) and no alcohol intake (P = 0.032) were independently associated to advanced fibrosis. Conclusion. A high frequency of undiagnosed advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis was observed in non-selected T2DM patients. Screening of these conditions may be warranted in this patient population.
Background and rationale for the study. Previous studies showed that CTLA4Ig and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) genes played regulatory role in organ transplantation but failed to reach satisfactory effects. In this study, we constructed an adenovirus- mediated gene expressing CTLA4IgIDO and established rat liver transplantation models. Recipients were randomly divided into four groups of 10 rats each. During the operation, CTLA4Ig, IDO, and CTLA4IgIDO genes, as well as a blank plasmid, were infused into different rat groups via portal vein to determine their effects on inducing immune tolerance. Survival rate of recipients, histological changes of graft liver, post-transplantation liver function, and cytokine levels were observed at day 14 after operation. Results. Serum levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), and total bilirubin level (TBIL) in the CTLA4Ig-IDO group were lower than those in the other three groups at 14 days post-transplantation (P < 0.05); mRNA and protein expressions of IL-2 and IFN-γ were higher in the control group, but lower in the CTLA4Ig-IDO group (P < 0.05). By contrast, expressions of IL-4, TGF-b, IL-10, and T lymphocyte apoptosis were higher in the CTLA4Ig-IDO group than those in the other three groups (P < 0.05). The CTLA4Ig-IDO group exhibited mild acute rejection and higher survival rate compared with the other groups (P < 0.05). Conclusion. Compared with using CTLA4Ig or IDO alone, combined transfection of CTLA4Ig-IDO was more effective in inducing immune tolerance after liver transplantation.
Background. Upper gastrointestinal bleeding is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with portal hypertension secondary to schistosomiasis mansoni. Aim. To evaluate the efficacy of combined surgery and sclerotherapy versus endoscopic treatment alone in the prophylaxis of esophageal variceal rebleeding due to portal hypertension in schistosomiasis. Material and methods. During a two-years period consecutive patients with schistosomiasis and a recent bleeding history were evaluated for prospective randomization. Absolute exclusion criteria were alcoholism or other liver diseases, whereas platelet count < 50,000/mm3, INR > 1.5 or presence of gastric varices were relative exclusion criteria. By random allocation 25 (group A) have received endoscopic sclerotherapy for esophageal varices alone and 22 (group B) combined treatment: esophagogastric devascularization with splenectomy followed by sclerotherapy. Interim analysis at 24 months has shown significant statistical differences between the groups and the randomization was halted. Results. Mean age was 38.9 ± 15.4 years and 58.46% were male. Mean follow-up was 38.6 ± 20.1 months. Endoscopic comparison of the size of esophageal varices before and after treatment did not show significant differences among the two groups. Treatment efficacy was assessed by the rate of recurrent esophageal variceal bleeding, that was more common in group A- 9/25 patients (36.0%) vs. 2/22 (9.0%) in group B (p = 0.029). Other complications were odynophagia, dysphagia and esophageal ulcer in group A and ascites and portal vein thrombosis in the surgical group. Conclusion. In portal hypertension due to schistosomiasis, combined surgical and endoscopic treatment was more effective for the prevention of recurrent esophageal variceal bleeding.
Background/Aim. The pathogenesis and the clinical impact of diastolic dysfunction (DD) in cirrhosis remain unclear. Our aim was to investigate the factors significantly associated with the presence of DD in patients with decompensated cirrhosis on the waiting list for liver transplantation. Material and methods. consecutive patients with decompensated cirrhosis, who admitted for transplant assessment, were prospectively evaluated. We assessed the independent factors associated with the presence of DD, while their discriminative ability was evaluated by AUC curve. The diagnosis of DD was based on Doppler echocardiography and classified into three categories according to the current guidelines. Results. we evaluated 115 consecutive patients. Sixty six patients (57.3%-group 1) had DD and 49 (42.7%-group 2) had not DD. The 2 groups had similar Child-Pugh/MELD scores and survival. In multivariable logistic regression analysis, pulse rate (OR: 1.082, 95% CI: 1.03-1.15, p = 0.004), and UNa24h (OR: 0.98, 95% CI: 0.97- 0.99, p = 0.004) were the only variables independently associated with the presence of DD. In the subgroup of consecutive patients (n = 31) with evaluation of cytokines, those (n = 22) with DD, compared to those (n = 9) without DD, had significantly higher levels of inteleukin-6 [145 (45-2000) vs. 56 (10-149)pg/mL, p = 0.043]. Conclusions. We found that DD was independently associated with lower 24-hour urine sodium. Although no correlation was found between DD and severity of liver disease or survival, further studies are needed for final conclusions.
Introducción and aim. To investigate and identify the risk factors associated with early infection following a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS)procedure in perioperative period. Material and methods. The interventional radiology database at the West China Hospital in Sichuan, China was reviewed to identify all patients that underwent a TIPS procedure between January 30, 2013 and August 30, 2015. Four hundred and sixty-six TIPS patients with liver cirrhosis were enrolled in this study. Liver function was assessed using the Child-Pugh classification system and bacteremia was defined as patients that had a positive blood culture. Statistical analysis was performed using χ2 tests (include Fishers exact tests χ2) and logistic regression analyses. A P< 0.05 was set as the threshold for statistical significance. Results. One hundred and forty-eight of the 466 (31.7%) patients developed a fever. Eighty-three of the 148 fever patients subsequently had blood drawn for cultures and 9/83 (10.8%) patients developed bacteremia as defined by a blood culture analysis. Cholangiolithiasis (P = 0.006), Child-Pugh class A designation (P = 0.001), Child-Pugh class C designation (P = 0.005) and hepatitis C virus infection (P = 0.011) were significantly correlated with fever in these patients. No statistically significant correlations were found between the other factors (age, gender, clinical manifestation, diabetes mellitus, cholangiolithiasis, etc.) and bacteremia, with the exception of periprocedure cholangiolithiasis, which was significantly correlated with blood culture-defined bacteremia (P < 0.05). Conclusions. Cholangiolithiasis is a risk factor for infection after a TIPS procedure in the periprocedure period.
Background and aims. Patients with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) benefit from ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) treatment. Since there is still certain reluctance to use UDCA in pregnant women, mainly due to warnings in the official SPC information in respective drug leaflets, our objective was to assess the efficacy and safety of UDCA during pregnancy. Material and methods. Our retrospective multicentric study was performed on 191 consecutive pregnant women with ICP treated with UDCA. Any maternal and/or fetal complications of the UDCA treatment were searched for; healthy pregnant women (n = 256) served as controls. Results. The UDCA treatment improved liver disease status in the majority of the affected women (86.1%). This treatment was well tolerated, with only negligible skin reactions (0.5%) and mild diarrhea (4.7%). No complications attributable to UDCA treatment were detected during the fetal life, delivery, or the early neonatal period. Conclusion. We confirmed the good efficacy and safety of UDCA treatment in pregnancy for both mothers and fetuses/neonates.
Background. The regenerative capacity of the liver is critical for proper responses to injury. Fibrin extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition is a common response to insult and contributes to inflammatory liver injury. However, the role of this matrix in hepatic regeneration has not been determined. Objective. The purpose of this study was first to determine the role of fibrin ECM in hepatic regeneration followed by the role of the fibrin-binding ?v?3 integrin in mediating this effect. Material and methods. C57Bl/6J (WT) or PAI-1 knockout (KO) mice underwent 70% partial hepatectomy (PHx); plasma and histologic indices of regeneration were determined, as well as expression of key genes involved in hepatic regeneration. Results. PHx promoted transient fibrin deposition by activating coagulation and concomitantly decreasing fibrinolysis. Inhibiting fibrin deposition, either by blocking thrombin (hirudin) in WT mice or by knocking out PAI-1, was associated with a decrease in hepatocyte proliferation after PHx. This strongly suggested a role for fibrin ECM in liver regeneration. To investigate if ?v?3 integrin mediates this action, we tested the effects of the anti-?v?3 cyclic peptide RGDfV in animals after PHx. As was observed with inhibition of fibrin deposition, competitive inhibition of ?v?3 integrin delayed regeneration after PHx, while not affecting fibrin deposition. These effects of RGDfV correlated with impaired angiogénesis and STAT3 signaling, as well as transient endothelial dysfunction. In conclusion, these data suggest that ?v?3 integrin plays an important role in coordinating hepatocyte division during liver regeneration after PHx via crosstalk with fibrin ECM.
Amanita phalloides is the most relevant mushroom intoxication leading to acute liver failure. The two principal groups of toxins, the amatoxins and the phallotoxins, are small oligopeptides highly resistant to chemical and physical influences. The amatoxins inhibit eukaryotic RNA polymerase II causing transcription arrest affecting mainly metabolically highly active cells like hepatocytes and renal cells. The clinically most characteristic symptom is a 6-40 h lag phase before onset of gastrointestinal symptoms and the rapid progression of acute liver failure leading to multi-organ failure and death within a week if left untreated. Extracorporeal albumin dialysis (ECAD) was reported to improve patients outcome or facilitate bridging to transplantation. In our tertiary center, out of nine intoxicated individuals from five non-related families six patients presented with acute liver injury; all of them were treated with ECAD using the MARS® system. Four of them were listed on admission for high urgency liver transplantation. In addition to standard medical treatment for Amanita intoxication we initiated ECAD once patients were admitted to our center. Overall 16 dialysis sessions were performed. All patients survived with full native liver recovery without the need for transplantation. ECAD was well tolerated; no severe adverse events were reported during treatment. Coagulopathy resolved within days in all patients, and acute kidney injury in all but one individual. In conclusion, ECAD is highly effective in treating intoxication with Amanita phalloides. Based on these experiences we suggest early initiation and repeated sessions depending on response to ECAD with the chance of avoiding liver transplantation.
We present the case of a 56-yr-old woman with vague abdominal pain of approximately 5 months duration. An ultrasound study showed moderate dilation of the common bile duct. Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography confirmed a cystic dilatation of the right hepatic duct with intra and extra hepatic component. The patient underwent right hepatectomy and complete excision of the cyst. Microscopically, the cyst wall was formed by fibrous tissue with mild acute and chronic inflammatory infiltrate, the inner surface showed a single layer of columnar epithelium and extensive squamous metaplasia without atypia, wich expressed p63 and high molecular weight cytoqueratin (34BE12).
Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC) is a heterogeneous group of autosomal recessive cholestatic diseases of childhood and represents the main indication for liver transplantation at this age; PFIC2 involves ABCB11 gene, that encodes the ATPdependent canalicular bile salt export pump (BSEP). Benign intrahepatic cholestasis (BRIC) identifies a group of diseases involving the same genes and characterized by intermittent attacks of cholestasis with no progression to liver cirrhosis. Diagnosis with standard sequencing techniques is expensive and available only at a few tertiary centers. We report the application of next generation sequencing (NGS) in the diagnosis of the familial intrahepatic cholestasis with a parallel sequencing of three causative genes. We identified the molecular defects in ABCB11 gene in two different probands who developed a severe cholestatic disease of unknown origin. In the first patient a compound heterozygosity for the novel frameshift mutation p.Ser1100GlnfsX38 and the missense variant p.Glu135Lys was detected. In the second patient, triggered by contraceptive therapy, we identified homozygosity for a novel missense variant p.Ala523Gly. In conclusion, these mutations seem to have a late onset and a less aggressive clinical impact, acting as an intermediate form between BRIC and PFIC.