Concept: Hepatic encephalopathy
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.
Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMZ) is a commonly used antibiotic that has been associated with drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) syndrome. DRESS syndrome is characterised by fever, rash, lymphadenopathy, eosinophilia and one or more major organ involvement. Although rare, TMP-SMZ is a recognised cause of fulminant hepatic failure. We report a case of a 17-year-old Chinese, male adolescent who presented with fever, myalgia, generalised maculopapular rash and lymphadenopathy after taking TMPSMZ for acne vulgaris. He subsequently developed hepatic encephalopathy and was worked up for urgent liver transplantation. He responded well to extracorporeal liver dialysis (originally intended as a bridging therapy) and subsequently recovered without the need for liver transplantation. This case report highlights the importance of early recognition of TMPSMZ-induced DRESS syndrome and the need for early discontinuation of the drug in the affected patient. Extracorporeal liver dialysis and transplantation should be considered in the management of TMP-SMZ-induced fulminant hepatic failure.
Organoid technology provides a revolutionary paradigm toward therapy but has yet to be applied in humans, mainly because of reproducibility and scalability challenges. Here, we overcome these limitations by evolving a scalable organ bud production platform entirely from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). By conducting massive “reverse” screen experiments, we identified three progenitor populations that can effectively generate liver buds in a highly reproducible manner: hepatic endoderm, endothelium, and septum mesenchyme. Furthermore, we achieved human scalability by developing an omni-well-array culture platform for mass producing homogeneous and miniaturized liver buds on a clinically relevant large scale (>108). Vascularized and functional liver tissues generated entirely from iPSCs significantly improved subsequent hepatic functionalization potentiated by stage-matched developmental progenitor interactions, enabling functional rescue against acute liver failure via transplantation. Overall, our study provides a stringent manufacturing platform for multicellular organoid supply, thus facilitating clinical and pharmaceutical applications especially for the treatment of liver diseases through multi-industrial collaborations.
A 35-year-old man presented with acute alcoholic hepatitis and encephalopathy. His sodium level was 119 mmol per liter. Over the next 5 days his condition improved with supportive treatment, including lactulose, vitamins and normal saline for hypovolemia.
There is increasing concern over the risk of consumer unintentional misuse of non-prescription (a.k.a. ‘over-the-counter’) medications containing acetaminophen, which could lead to acute liver failure.
Cannabidiol is the nonpsychoactive natural component of C. sativa that has been shown to be neuroprotective in multiple animal models. Our interest is to advance a therapeutic candidate for the orphan indication hepatic encephalopathy (HE). HE is a serious neurological disorder that occurs in patients with cirrhosis or liver failure. Although cannabidiol is effective in models of HE, it has limitations in terms of safety and oral bioavailability. Herein, we describe a series of side chain modified resorcinols that were designed for greater hydrophilicity and “drug likeness”, while varying hydrogen bond donors, acceptors, architecture, basicity, neutrality, acidity, and polar surface area within the pendent group. Our primary screen evaluated the ability of the test agents to prevent damage to hippocampal neurons induced by ammonium acetate and ethanol at clinically relevant concentrations. Notably, KLS-13019 was 50-fold more potent and >400-fold safer than cannabidiol and exhibited an in vitro profile consistent with improved oral bioavailability.
Wilson’s disease (WD) is a rare inborn disease related to copper storage, leading to liver cirrhosis and neuropsychological deterioration. The aim of this study was to determine the clinical presentation and long-term outcome, and to examine the progression of hepatic histopathology in serial liver biopsies from WD patients.
Wilson disease is an autosomal recessive disorder of copper metabolism. Diagnosis depends primarily on clinical features, biochemical parameters and the presence of the Kayser-Fleischer ring. Genetic analysis for mutations within ATP7B is a convincing diagnostic tool. The traditional treatment for WD includes chelation of excessive copper accumulation and reduction of copper intake. Medical therapy is effective but WD is not yet curable. Liver transplantation is especially helpful for patients who fail to respond to medical therapy or present with fulminant liver failure, although evaluation of its long-term effect are still in need.
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) and H(2) -receptor antagonists (H(2) RA) are frequently prescribed in hospitalized patients with cirrhosis. There are conflicting reports regarding the role of acid suppressive therapy in predisposing hospitalized patients with cirrhosis to spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP).The aim of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the association between acid-suppressive therapy and the risk of SBP in hospitalized patients with cirrhosis. METHODS: We searched MEDLINE and 4 other databases for subject headings and text words related to SBP and acid-suppressive therapy. All observational studies that investigated the risk of SBP associated with PPI/H2RA therapy and utilized SBP as an endpoint were considered eligible. Data from the identified studies were combined by means of a random-effects model and odds ratios (ORs) were calculated. RESULTS: Eight studies (n=3,815 patients) met inclusion criteria. The risk of hospitalized cirrhotic patients developing SBP increased when using acid-suppressive therapy. The risk was greater with PPI therapy (n= 3,815; OR 3.15, 95% CI 2.09-4.74) as compared to those on H2RA therapy (n=562; OR 1.71, 95% CI 0.97- 3.01). CONCLUSIONS: Pharmacologic acid-suppression was associated with a greater risk of SBP in hospitalized patients with cirrhosis. Cirrhotic patients receiving a PPI have approximately 3 times the risk of developing SBP compared to those not receiving this medication. Prospective studies may help clarify this relationship and shed light on the mechanism(s) by which acid-suppressive therapy increases the risk of SBP in hospitalized patients with cirrhosis.
Hyponatraemia-the most common serum electrolyte disorder-has also emerged as an important marker of the severity and prognosis of important diseases such as heart failure and cirrhosis. Acute hyponatraemia can cause severe encephalopathy, but the rapid correction of chronic hyponatraemia can also profoundly impair brain function and even cause death. With the expanding elderly population and the increased prevalence of hyponatraemia in this segment of society, prospective studies are needed to examine whether correcting hyponatraemia in the elderly will diminish cognitive impairment, improve balance and reduce the incidence of falls and fractures. Given that polypharmacy is also common in the elderly population, the various medications that may stimulate arginine vasopressin release and/or enhance the hormone’s action to increase water absorption must also be taken into consideration. Whether hyponatraemia in a patient with cancer is merely a marker of poor prognosis or whether its presence may alter the patient’s quality of life remains to be examined. In any case, hyponatraemia can no longer be considered as just a biochemical bystander in the ill patient. A systematic diagnostic approach is necessary to determine the specific aetiology of a patient’s hyponatraemia. Therapy must then be dictated not only by recognized reversible causes such as advanced hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, diuretics or other medicines, but also by whether the hyponatraemia occurred acutely or chronically. Information is emerging that the vast majority of cases of hyponatraemia are caused by the nonosmotic release of arginine vasopressin. Now that vasopressin V2-receptor blockers are available, a new era of clinical investigation is necessary to examine whether hyponatraemia is just a marker of severe disease or whether correction of hyponatraemia could improve a patient’s quality of life. Such an approach must involve prospective randomized studies in different groups of patients with hyponatraemia, including those with advanced heart failure, those with cirrhosis, patients with cancer, and the elderly.