Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biomarkers used to predict recurrent disease in hepatitis C transplant patients

05.10.2005


Two new studies on Hepatitis C (HCV) patients who underwent liver transplants examined a potential biomarker that could be used to predict who might develop hepatic fibrosis, a formation of scar-like tissue that can lead to cirrhosis. The studies found that changes in a certain type of liver cell were useful in determining those who were at the greatest risk for developing this serious complication.



The results of these studies appear in the October 2005 issue of Liver Transplantation, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the International Liver Transplantation Society (ILTS). The journal is published on behalf of the societies by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/livertransplantation.

Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants and recurrence of the disease following transplant is a serious problem. It is estimated that up to 20 percent of HCV patients will develop fibrosis or cirrhosis within two years of undergoing a transplant. Antiviral therapy is not highly effective in transplant patients and poses additional problems for these individuals, who may have difficulty tolerating the potent drugs it involves. However, antiviral therapy might be useful for those patients likely to develop fibrosis, if they could somehow be identified. Hepatic stellate cells (HSC) normally store vitamin A in the liver, but in HCV patients these cells produce collagen and other proteins that can lead to fibrosis. Researchers tried to determine if HSC activation could help predict which patients would later develop fibrosis by using laboratory analysis of alpha smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA), a reliable marker for HSC activation.


In one study, led by Samer Gawrieh of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, MN, 26 patients who underwent HCV-related liver transplants at the Mayo Clinic between April 1993 and July 1999 were included. Biopsies obtained 4 months and 1 year post-transplant were evaluated and given a score for alpha-SMA. The results showed that HSC activation of one particular type of cell (mesenchymal cells, which give rise to connective tissue) was highly reliable in predicting the development of fibrosis. "Staining early post-LT liver biopsies for alpha-SMA may help identify patients with hepatitis C at risk for severe recurrence who may benefit from early anti-HCV or anti-fibrotic therapy," the authors conclude.

In another study, led by Mark W. Russo, M.D., M.P.H. of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 46 patients who underwent HCV-related liver transplants at the University of Florida between 1997 and 2001 were included. Patients were divided into two groups: those who developed advanced fibrosis within 2 years of liver transplant and those who developed mild or no fibrosis in the same period. Biopsies from 4 months, 1 year and 2 years post-transplant were scored for alpha-SMA. The results showed that HSC activation was significantly higher in the 4 month biopsies for those who developed advanced fibrosis within 2 years. The authors note that alpha-SMA "is an attractive biomarker because it is determined from the organ of interest and there is biological plausibility for why increased stellate cell activity would lead to advanced fibrosis."

In an accompanying editorial by A.J Demetris and J.G. Lunz III of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, the authors note that the ability of alpha-SMA to predict disease at 4 months after transplant suggests that something triggers a chain of events that begins with mesenchymal and/or HSC activation and leads to the development of fibrosis. They speculate as to what the trigger might be and how it might explain the mechanism of liver disease, examining risk factors for recurrent HCV that might offer clues, as well as substances such as viral proteins and proteins secreted by liver cells. In particular, they cite their research on p21, a protein made in the liver, which showed that progression of fibrosis was related to the effect of p21 on liver cell proliferation. "This model better fits observations about disease pathogenesis," they conclude. "It explains why any hepatocyte stressors, such as steatosis [accumulation of fat in the liver], iron, inflammation, HCV replication or spontaneously increased 21 expression, such as occurs with aging, can accelerate liver disease progression."

David Greenberg | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wiley.com
http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/livertransplantation

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bacteria as pacemaker for the intestine
22.11.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Researchers identify how bacterium survives in oxygen-poor environments
22.11.2017 | Columbia University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>