SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Cirrhosis

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Recent studies have found that vasogenic brain edema is present during hepatic encephalopathy following acute liver failure and is dependent on increased matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) activity and downregulation of tight junction proteins. Furthermore, circulating transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1) is increased following liver damage and may promote endothelial cell permeability. This study aimed to assess whether increased circulating TGFβ1 drives changes in tight junction protein expression and MMP9 activity following acute liver failure. Blood-brain barrier permeability was assessed in azoxymethane (AOM)-treated mice at 6, 12, and 18 h post-injection via Evan’s blue extravasation. Monolayers of immortalized mouse brain endothelial cells (bEnd.3) were treated with recombinant TGFβ1 (rTGFβ1) and permeability to fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran (FITC-dextran), MMP9 and claudin-5 expression was assessed. Antagonism of TGFβ1 signaling was performed in vivo to determine its role in blood-brain barrier permeability. Blood-brain barrier permeability was increased in mice at 18 h following AOM injection. Treatment of bEnd.3 cells with rTGFβ1 led to a dose-dependent increase of MMP9 expression as well as a suppression of claudin-5 expression. These effects of rTGFβ1 on MMP9 and claudin-5 expression could be reversed following treatment with a SMAD3 inhibitor. AOM-treated mice injected with neutralizing antibodies against TGFβ demonstrated significantly reduced blood-brain barrier permeability. Blood-brain barrier permeability is induced in AOM mice via a mechanism involving the TGFβ1-driven SMAD3-dependent upregulation of MMP9 expression and decrease of claudin-5 expression. Therefore, treatment modalities aimed at reducing TGFβ1 levels or SMAD3 activity may be beneficial in promoting blood-brain barrier integrity following liver failure.Laboratory Investigation advance online publication, 1 June 2015; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2015.70.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Angiogenesis, Coagulation, Cirrhosis, Endothelium, Paracetamol, Hepatic encephalopathy

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There is limited data that supports a role for a vegetarian diet in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The aim of this study is to evaluate the relationship between vegetarian diets and NAFLD, considering metabolic syndrome and obesity.

Concepts: Nutrition, Obesity, Cirrhosis, Metabolic syndrome, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Fatty liver, Steatosis, Diets

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The direct cost of excessive alcohol consumption to health services is substantial but dwarfed by the cost borne by the workplace as a result of lost productivity. The workplace is also a promising setting for health interventions. The Preventing Alcohol Harm in Liverpool and Knowsley (PrevAIL) project aimed to evaluate a mechanism for detecting the prevalence of alcohol related liver disease using fibrosis biomarkers. Secondary aims were to identify the additive effect of obesity as a risk factor for early liver disease; to assess other impacts of alcohol on work, using a cross-sectional survey.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Cancer, Medical statistics, Risk, Cirrhosis, Economics

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The development of simple, noninvasive markers of liver fibrosis is urgently needed for primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). This study examined the ability of several serum biomarkers of cell death to estimate fibrosis and prognosis in PBC. A cohort of 130 patients with biopsy-proven PBC and 90 healthy subjects were enrolled. We assessed the utility of the M30 ELISA, which detects caspase-cleaved cytokeratin-18 (CK-18) fragments and is representative of apoptotic cell death, as well as the M65 and newly developed M65 Epideath (M65ED) ELISAs, which detect total CK-18 as indicators of overall cell death, in predicting clinically relevant fibrosis stage. All 3 cell death biomarkers were significantly higher in patients with PBC than in healthy controls and were significantly correlated with fibrosis stage. The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the M65 and M65ED assays for differentiation among significant fibrosis, severe fibrosis, and cirrhosis were 0.66 and 0.76, 0.66 and 0.73, and 0.74 and 0.82, respectively. In multivariate analysis, high M65ED (hazard ratio 6.13; 95% confidence interval 1.18-31.69; P = 0.031) and severe fibrosis (hazard ratio 7.45; 95% confidence interval 1.82-30.51; P = 0.005) were independently associated with liver-related death, transplantation, or decompensation. High serum M65ED was also significantly associated with poor outcome in PBC (log-rank test; P = 0.001). Noninvasive cell death biomarkers appear to be clinically useful in predicting fibrosis in PBC. Moreover, the M65ED assay may represent a new surrogate marker of adverse disease outcome.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cirrhosis, Liver, Hepatology, ELISA, Bilirubin, Primary biliary cirrhosis, Primary sclerosing cholangitis

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Recent advances in the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection have led to the availability of both highly efficacious interferon-containing and interferon-sparing regimens. However, the use of such therapies faces restrictions due to high costs. For patients who are medically eligible to receive interferon, the choice between the two will likely be impacted by preferences surrounding interferon, severity of disease, coverage policies and out-of-pocket costs. We developed a decision model to quantify the trade-offs between immediate, interferon-containing therapy and delayed, interferon-free therapy for patients with chronic, genotype 1 HCV infection. We projected the quality-adjusted life expectancy stratified by the presence or absence of cirrhosis for four strategies: (i) no treatment; (ii) immediate, one-time treatment with an interferon-containing regimen; (iii) immediate treatment as above with the opportunity for retreatment in patients who fail to achieve sustained virologic response with interferon-free therapy in 1 year; and (iv) delayed therapy with interferon-free therapy in 1 year. When compared to one-time immediate treatment with the interferon-containing regimen, delayed treatment with the interferon-free regimen in 1 year resulted in longer life expectancy, with a 0.2 quality-adjusted life year (QALY) increase in noncirrhotic patients, and a 1.1 QALY increase in patients with cirrhosis. This superiority in health benefits was lost when wait time for interferon-free therapy was greater than 3-3.2 years. In this modelling analysis, interferon-free therapy resulted in superior health benefits compared to immediate therapy with interferon until wait time exceeded 3-3.2 years. Such data can inform decision-making regarding treatment initiation for HCV as healthcare financing evolves.

Concepts: Health economics, Medicine, Cirrhosis, Hepatitis, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Quality-adjusted life year

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Although decreased counts of peripheral blood (PB) B cells-associated with an apparently contradictory polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia-have been reported in chronic alcoholism, no information exists about the specific subsets of circulating B cells altered and their relationship with antibody production. Here, we analyzed for the first time the distribution of multiple maturation-associated subpopulations of PB B cells in alcoholism and its potential relationship with the onset of liver disease.

Concepts: Lymphocyte, Protein, Blood, Polyclonal antibodies, Cirrhosis, B cell, Humoral immunity, Epitope

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Hepatocytes are critical for the maintenance of liver homeostasis, but its involvement in hepatic fibrogenesis remains elusive. Hepatocyte nuclear factor 1α (HNF1α) is a liver-enriched transcription factor that plays a key role in hepatocyte function. Our previous study revealed a significant inhibitory effect of HNF1α on hepatocellular carcinoma. In this study, we report that the expression of HNF1α is significantly repressed in both human and rat fibrotic liver. Knockdown of HNF1α in the liver significantly aggravates hepatic fibrogenesis in either dimethylnitrosamine (DMN) or bile duct ligation (BDL) model in rats. In contrast, forced expression of HNF1α markedly alleviates hepatic fibrosis. HNF1α regulates the transcriptional expression of SH2 domain-containing phosphatase-1 (SHP-1) via directly binding to SHP-1 promoter in hepatocytes. Inhibition of SHP-1 expression abrogates the anti-fibrotic effect of HNF1α in DMN-treated rats. Moreover, HNF1α repression in primary hepatocytes leads to the activation of NF-κB and JAK/STAT pathways and initiates an inflammatory feedback circuit consisting of HNF1α, SHP-1, STAT3, p65, miR-21 and miR-146a, which sustains the deregulation of HNF1α in hepatocytes. More interestingly, a coordinated crosstalk between hepatocytes and hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) participates in this positive feedback circuit and facilitates the progression of hepatocellular damage. Our findings demonstrate that impaired hepatocytes play an active role in hepatic fibrogenesis. Early intervention of HNF1α-regulated inflammatory feedback loop in hepatocytes may have beneficial effects in the treatment of chronic liver diseases.Cell Research advance online publication 14 July 2015; doi:10.1038/cr.2015.84.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Cancer, Transcription, Cirrhosis, Liver, Bile, Hepatocyte

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Hepatic fibrosis, featured by accumulation of excessive extracellular matrix in liver tissues, is associated with metabolic disease and cancer. Inhalation exposure to airborne particulate matter in fine ranges (PM2.5) correlates with pulmonary dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome. In this study, we investigated the effect and mechanism of PM2.5 exposure on hepatic fibrogenesis.

Concepts: Cancer, Matter, Cirrhosis, Liver, Particulate

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The majority of hepatocellular carcinoma occurs over pre-existing chronic liver diseases that share cirrhosis as an endpoint. In the last decade, a strong association between lifestyle and hepatocellular carcinoma has become evident. Abundance of energy-rich food and sedentary lifestyles have caused metabolic conditions such as obesity and diabetes mellitus to become global epidemics. Obesity and diabetes mellitus are both tightly linked to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and also increase hepatocellular carcinoma risk independent of cirrhosis. Emerging data suggest that physical activity not only counteracts obesity, diabetes mellitus and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, but also reduces cancer risk. Physical activity exerts significant anticancer effects in the absence of metabolic disorders. Here, we present a systematic review on lifestyles and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Concepts: Cancer, Nutrition, Obesity, Cirrhosis, Metabolic syndrome, Hepatology, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Fatty liver

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, and the factors influencing HCC progression are poorly understood. Here we reveal that HCC progression via induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is closely associated with the expression of CD36/fatty acid translocase and elevated free fatty acid (FFA) levels. Although obesity is manifested as elevated FFA levels, the degree of EMT was not associated with the body mass index of the patients, highlighting the specific roles of CD36 and FFA uptake. Treatment of human liver cancer cell lines with FFAs exacerbated the EMT phenotype, whereas chemical inhibition of CD36 mitigated these effects. Furthermore, the Wnt and TGF-β signaling pathways were activated upon FFA treatment, potentially acting as upstream activators of the EMT program. These results provide the first direct evidence associating CD36 and elevated FFAs with HCC progression.

Concepts: Cancer, Nutrition, Fatty acid, Obesity, Cirrhosis, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Body mass index, John Coltrane