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Concept: Cirrhosis


Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and cirrhosis have higher risk for liver-related complications and have historically been more difficult to cure than patients without cirrhosis. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir and dasabuvir, without ribavirin, for 12 weeks in patients with HCV GT1b infection and compensated cirrhosis.

Concepts: Cirrhosis, Hepatitis, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis C virus, Wilson's disease


The study was designed to characterize the surface, core promoter, precore/core region sequences for the presence of mutations in hepatitis B virus (HBV) associated with different liver diseases.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Cancer, Promoter, Cirrhosis, Hepatitis, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis B virus


BACKGROUND: A high index of suspicion is required to make this diagnosis of constrictive pericarditis (CP) in patients presenting with cirrhosis and volume overload, as they can otherwise go misdiagnosed for years. METHODS: Case report. FINDINGS: A 51 year-old man with a history of presumed alcoholic cirrhosis presented to the emergency department with anasarca. Abdominal ultrasound with Doppler demonstrated a nodular cirrhotic liver, but no evidence of portal hypertension or ascites. The chest x-ray, however, was significant for a right-sided pleural effusion and pericardial calcification, suggestive of (CP). Transthoracic echocardiogram and ECG-gated computerized tomography scan of the chest without IV contrast confirmed the diagnosis. The patient was referred to thoracic surgery for definitive pericardiectomy. CONCLUSION: The diagnosis of CP is often neglected by admitting physicians, who usually attribute the symptoms to another disease process. Although a multimodality approach is necessary for the diagnosis of CP, this case highlights the utility of chest x-ray, a relatively non-invasive and inexpensive test, in expediting the diagnosis.

Concepts: Heart failure, Echocardiography, Medical imaging, Cirrhosis, Ascites, Pleural effusion, Hepatorenal syndrome, Wilson's disease


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of liver glycogen loading on net hepatic glycogen synthesis during hyperinsulinemia or hepatic portal vein glucose infusion in vivo. Liver glycogen levels were supercompensated (SCGly) in two groups (using intraportal fructose infusion) but not in two others (Gly) during hyperglycemic-normoinsulinemia. Following a 2-h control period during which fructose infusion was stopped, there was a 2-h experimental period in which the response to hyperglycemia plus either 4× basal insulin (INS) or portal vein glucose infusion (PoG) was measured. Increased hepatic glycogen reduced the percent of glucose taken up by the liver that was deposited in glycogen (74 ± 3 vs. 53 ± 5% in Gly+INS and SCGly+INS, respectively, and 72 ± 3 vs. 50 ± 6% in Gly+PoG and SCGly+PoG, respectively). The reduction in liver glycogen synthesis in SCGly+INS was accompanied by a decrease in both insulin signaling and an increase in AMPK activation, whereas only the latter was observed in SCGly+PoG. These data indicate that liver glycogen loading impairs glycogen synthesis regardless of the signal used to stimulate it.

Concepts: Insulin, Glucose, Cirrhosis, Liver, Glycogen, Hepatic portal vein, Portal venous system, Hepatic portal system


Micro RNAs-371-372-373 (miRNAs-371-373), originating from the same pri-miRNA transcript, are reported to be upregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to be related to the regulation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Our study investigated whether pri-miRNAs-371-373 polymorphisms are associated with the risk of HCC occurrence and HBV clearance.

Concepts: DNA, RNA, Infection, Cirrhosis, Hepatitis, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis B virus


Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection is one of the most common etiological factors involved in fibrosis development and its progression to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The pivotal role of hepatic stellate cells (HCSs) and extracellular matrix (ECM) in fibrogenesis is now certainly accepted, while the network of molecular interactions connecting HCV is emerging as a master regulator of several biological processes including proliferation, inflammation, cytoskeleton and ECM remodeling. In this study, the effects of HCV proteins expression on liver cancer cells, both pro-invasive and pro-fibrogenic phenotypes were explored. As a model of HCV infection, we used permissive Huh7.5.1 hepatoma cells infected with JFH1-derived ccHCV. Conditioned medium from these cells was used to stimulate LX-2 cells, a line of HSCs. We found that the HCV infection of Huh7.5.1 cells decreased adhesion, increased migration and caused the delocalization of alpha-actinin from plasma membrane to cytoplasm and increased expression levels of paxillin. The treatment of LX-2 cells, with conditioned medium from HCV-infected Huh7.5.1 cells, caused an increase in cell proliferation, expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin, hyaluronic acid release and apoptosis rate measured as cleaved poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP). These effects were accompanied in Huh7.5.1 cells by an HCV-dependent increasing of FAK activation that physically interacts with phosphorylated paxillin and alpha-actinin, and a rising of tumor necrosis factor alpha production/release. Silencing of FAK by siRNA reverted all effects of HCV infection, both those directed on Huh7.5.1 cells, and those indirect effects on the LX-2 cells. Moreover and interestingly, FAK inhibition enhances apoptosis in HCV-conditioned LX-2 cells. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that HCV, through FAK activation, may promote cytoskeletal reorganization and a pro-oncogenic phenotype in hepatocyte-like cells, and a fibrogenic phenotype in HSCs.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Cancer, Signal transduction, Cell membrane, Cirrhosis, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Hepatitis C


Hepatocellular carcinoma, the most frequent primary hepatic tumor, metastasizes in more than 50% of cases. However, parotid gland metastatic HCCs are very uncommon. We report a patient in whom the finding of a left parotid mass revealed metastatic HCC.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Cirrhosis, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Hepatitis C, Parotid gland, Warthin's tumor


BACKGROUND: Hepatitis B virus (HBV), because of its error-prone viral polymerase, has a high mutation rate leading to widespread substitutions, deletions, and insertions in the HBV genome. Deletions may significantly change viral biological features complicating the progression of liver diseases. However, the clinical conditions correlating to the accumulation of deleted mutants remain unclear. In this study, we explored HBV deletion patterns and their association with disease status and antiviral treatment by performing whole genome sequencing on samples from 51 hepatitis B patients and by monitoring changes in deletion variants during treatment. Clone sequencing was used to analyze preS regions in another cohort of 52 patients. RESULTS: Among the core, preS, and basic core promoter (BCP) deletion hotspots, we identified preS to have the highest frequency and the most complex deletion pattern using whole genome sequencing. Further clone sequencing analysis on preS identified 70 deletions which were classified into 4 types, the most common being preS2. Also, in contrast to the core and BCP regions, most preS deletions were in-frame. Most deletions interrupted viral surface epitopes, and are possibly involved in evading immuno-surveillance. Among various clinical factors examined, logistic regression showed that antiviral medication affected the accumulation of deletion mutants (OR = 6.81, 95%CI = 1.296 ~ 35.817, P = 0.023). In chronic carriers of the virus, and individuals with chronic hepatitis, the deletion rate was significantly higher in the antiviral treatment group (Fisher exact test, P = 0.007). Particularly, preS2 deletions were associated with the usage of nucleos(t)ide analog therapy (Fisher exact test, P = 0.023). Dynamic increases in preS1 or preS2 deletions were also observed in quasispecies from samples taken from patients before and after three months of ADV therapy. In vitro experiments demonstrated that preS2 deletions alone were not responsible for antiviral resistance, implying the coordination between wild type and mutant strains during viral survival and disease development. CONCLUSIONS: We present the HBV deletion distribution patterns and preS deletion substructures in viral genomes that are prevalent in northern China. The accumulation of preS deletion mutants during nucleos(t)ide analog therapy may be due to viral escape from host immuno-surveillance.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Virus, Cirrhosis, Hepatitis, Antiviral drug, Hepatitis B, Deletion


BACKGROUND: Studies have shown psychological distress in patients with cirrhosis, yet no studies have evaluated the laboratory and physiologic correlates of psychological symptoms in cirrhosis. This study therefore measured both biochemistry data and heart rate variability (HRV) analyses, and aimed to identify the physiologic correlates of depression, anxiety, and poor sleep in cirrhosis. METHODS: A total of 125 patients with cirrhosis and 55 healthy subjects were recruited. Each subject was assessed through routine biochemistry, 5-minutes ECG monitoring, and psychological ratings of depression, anxiety, and sleep. HRV analysis were used to evaluate autonomic functions. The relationship between depression, sleep, and physiologic correlates was assessed using a multiple regression analysis and stepwise method, controlling for age, duration of illness, and severity of cirrhosis. RESULTS: Reduced vagal-related HRV was found in patients with severe liver cirrhosis. Severity of cirrhosis measured by the Child-Pugh score was not correlated with depression or anxiety, and only had a weak correlation with poor sleep. The psychological distress in cirrhosis such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia were correlated specifically to increased levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), increased ratios of low frequency to high frequency power, or reduced nonlinear properties of HRV (alpha1 exponent of detrended fluctuation analysis). CONCLUSIONS: Increased serum AST and abnormal autonomic nervous activities by HRV analysis were associated with psychological distress in cirrhosis. Because AST is an important mediator of inflammatory process, further research is needed to delineate the role of inflammation in the cirrhosis comorbid with depression.

Concepts: Inflammation, Psychology, Regression analysis, Cirrhosis, Liver, Aspartate transaminase, Alanine transaminase, Hepatic encephalopathy


Steatotic grafts are excluded for use in partial liver transplantation (LT) due to increased risk of primary non-function. This study investigated the effects of suramin, a polysulfonated naphthylurea, on the outcome of steatotic partial LT. Rat livers were harvested after acute ethanol treatment (6 g/kg, i.g.), reduced in size to ~1/3, and transplanted. Serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and total bilirubin, and hepatic necrosis and apoptosis were significantly higher after transplantation of fatty partial grafts (FPG) than lean partial grafts (LPG). Suramin (5 mg/kg, i.p.) decreased ALT by ~60%, hyperbilirubinemia by 75%, necrosis by 83%, and apoptosis by 70% after FPG transplantation. Hepatic cellular 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation increased to 28% in LPG but was only 2% in FPG at 48 h and mitotic index increased to 7% in LPG but was only 0.2% in FPG, indicating suppressed regeneration in FPG. Suramin increased BrdU incorporation and mitotic index to 43% and 9%, respectively, in FPG. All FPG recipients died within 5 days. Suramin recovered survival of FPG to 62%. TNFα mRNA was 2.2-fold higher in FPG than in LPG and was associated with activation of caspase-8 and -3 in FPG. Suramin decreased TNFα and caspase activation in FPG. TGF-β, phospho-Smad2/3 and p21Cip1 were significantly higher in FPG than in LPG and suramin blocked TGF-β formation and its down-stream signaling pathway. Taken together, suramin improves the outcome of FPG transplantation, most likely by inhibition of TNFα and TGF-β formation.

Concepts: Apoptosis, Cirrhosis, Liver, Liver function tests, Alanine transaminase, Hepatology, Bilirubin, Jaundice