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Concept: Jaundice


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


BACKGROUND: Elevated Glasgow Prognostic Score (GPS) has been related to poor prognosis in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) undergoing surgical resection or receiving sorafenib. The aim of this study was to investigate the prognostic value of GPS in patients with various stages of the disease and with different liver functional status. METHODS: One hundred and fifty patients with newly diagnosed HCC were prospectively evaluated. Patients were divided according to their GPS scores. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify clinicopathological variables associated with overall survival; the identified variables were then compared with those of other validated staging systems. RESULTS: Elevated GPS were associated with increased asparate aminotransferase ( P<0.0001), total bilirubin ( P<0.0001), decreased albumin (P<0.0001), alpha-fetoprotein ( P=0.008), larger tumor diameter ( P=0.003), tumor number ( P=0.041), vascular invasion ( P=0.0002), extra hepatic metastasis ( P=0.02), higher Child-Pugh scores (P<0.0001), and higher Cancer Liver Italian Program scores (P<0.0001). On multivariate analysis, the elevated GPS was independently associated with worse overall survival. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that the GPS can serve as an independent marker of poor prognosis in patients with HCC in various stages of disease and different liver functional status.

Concepts: Cancer, Lung cancer, Cirrhosis, Liver, Multivariate statistics, Bilirubin, Prognosis, Jaundice


Even in expert hands, there can be serious complications when performing an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. The most frequent complications are pancreatitis, cholangitis, bleeding, perforation, and acute cholecystitis. The hepatic subcapsular haematoma is a rare complication, with few cases described worldwide.

Concepts: Gastroenterology, Acute pancreatitis, Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopy, Ascending cholangitis, Jaundice


Background Primary biliary cholangitis (formerly called primary biliary cirrhosis) can progress to cirrhosis and death despite ursodiol therapy. Alkaline phosphatase and bilirubin levels correlate with the risk of liver transplantation or death. Obeticholic acid, a farnesoid X receptor agonist, has shown potential benefit in patients with this disease. Methods In this 12-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned 217 patients who had an inadequate response to ursodiol or who found the side effects of ursodiol unacceptable to receive obeticholic acid at a dose of 10 mg (the 10-mg group), obeticholic acid at a dose of 5 mg with adjustment to 10 mg if applicable (the 5-10-mg group), or placebo. The primary end point was an alkaline phosphatase level of less than 1.67 times the upper limit of the normal range, with a reduction of at least 15% from baseline, and a normal total bilirubin level. Results Of 216 patients who underwent randomization and received at least one dose of obeticholic acid or placebo, 93% received ursodiol as background therapy. The primary end point occurred in more patients in the 5-10-mg group (46%) and the 10-mg group (47%) than in the placebo group (10%; P<0.001 for both comparisons). Patients in the 5-10-mg group and those in the 10-mg group had greater decreases than those in the placebo group in the alkaline phosphatase level (least-squares mean, -113 and -130 U per liter, respectively, vs. -14 U per liter; P<0.001 for both comparisons) and total bilirubin level (-0.02 and -0.05 mg per deciliter [-0.3 and -0.9 μmol per liter], respectively, vs. 0.12 mg per deciliter [2.0 μmol per liter]; P<0.001 for both comparisons). Changes in noninvasive measures of liver fibrosis did not differ significantly between either treatment group and the placebo group at 12 months. Pruritus was more common with obeticholic acid than with placebo (56% of patients in the 5-10-mg group and 68% of those in the 10-mg group vs. 38% in the placebo group). The rate of serious adverse events was 16% in the 5-10-mg group, 11% in the 10-mg group, and 4% in the placebo group. Conclusions Obeticholic acid administered with ursodiol or as monotherapy for 12 months in patients with primary biliary cholangitis resulted in decreases from baseline in alkaline phosphatase and total bilirubin levels that differed significantly from the changes observed with placebo. There were more serious adverse events with obeticholic acid. (Funded by Intercept Pharmaceuticals; POISE number, NCT01473524 ; Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN89514817 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Cirrhosis, Liver, Hepatology, Bilirubin, Primary biliary cirrhosis, Primary sclerosing cholangitis, Jaundice


A previously healthy man aged 50 years presented with malaise, anorexia, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, generalised jaundice, scleral icterus and dark urine. He was not on any prescription or over-the-counter medications, but reported drinking 4-5 energy drinks daily for 3 weeks prior to presentation. Physical examination revealed jaundice and right upper quadrant abdominal tenderness. Laboratory studies were remarkable for transaminitis and evidence of chronic hepatitis C infection. Ultrasound scan demonstrated an echogenic liver and diffuse gallbladder wall thickening. Liver biopsy showed severe acute hepatitis with bridging necrosis and marked cholestasis. The patient was treated supportively with complete resolution of his symptoms and marked improvement in his laboratory abnormalities. The development of acute hepatitis in this patient was likely secondary to excessive energy drink consumption. Energy drinks as well as other herbal/over-the-counter supplements should be considered by clinicians in the workup of patients with acute hepatitis, particularly once other aetiologies have been excluded.

Concepts: Cirrhosis, Hepatitis, Liver, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Bilirubin, Hepatitis C, Jaundice


The optimal management of treatment for patients at intermediate risk of a common duct stone (including increased liver function tests but bilirubin <4 mg/dL and no cholangitis) is a matter of debate. Many stones migrate spontaneously into the duodenum, making preoperative common duct investigations unnecessary.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Liver, Liver function tests, Hepatology, Bilirubin, Bile, Liver disease, Jaundice


To test whether the combined use of total plasma/serum bilirubin (TSB) levels and clinical risk factors more accurately identifies infants who receive phototherapy than does the use of either method alone.

Concepts: Psychology, Infant, Hepatology, Bilirubin, Pediatrics, Neonatal jaundice, Jaundice, Crigler-Najjar syndrome


Several histopathologic features have been described in cases of fibrosing cholestatic hepatitis C (FCH-C). We investigated whether FCH-associated features can be utilized as the basis of a novel grading system for the entire population of post-liver transplantation (LT) recurrent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Liver biopsies obtained at a median (interquartile range) of 12.3 (10.4-13.8) months post-LT from 170 patients with recurrent HCV were included. Biopsies were assessed for the following FCH features: (1) ductular reaction, (2) cholestasis, (3) hepatocyte ballooning, and (4) periportal sinusoidal fibrosis. A Hepatitis Aggressiveness Score (HAS) was assigned on the basis of the number of FCH features as follows: 0 features=HAS 1; 1 to 2 features=HAS 2; and 3 to 4 features=HAS 3. We analyzed the performance of this novel system in predicting clinicopathologic outcomes compared with conventional grading systems after a median (interquartile range) follow-up of 24 (13-45.5) months. The HAS classification was highly predictive of fibrosis progression (P<0.001) and was the best predictor of graft loss in a multivariable analysis model, which included all conventional hepatitis grading systems (adjusted hazard ratio=5.5, confidence interval 2.9-10.7, P<0.001 for HAS 3 vs. HAS 1 and 2, compared with adjusted hazard ratio=1.0, confidence interval 0.5-1.9, P=0.94 for the presence of moderate to severe necroinflammation by at least 1 conventional grading system). Presence of at least 3 of 4 FCH features (HAS 3 group) characterized a subset of patients with distinctly worse prognosis and severe cholestatic disease (ie, FCH-C). We propose a novel approach to the histologic grading of post-LT recurrent HCV based exclusively on FCH features. This system allows accurate identification of FCH-C cases and stratification of all recurrent HCV patients into distinct prognostic categories.

Concepts: Cancer, Cirrhosis, Interquartile range, Hepatitis C, Cholestasis, Normal distribution, Hepatitis C virus, Jaundice


Treatment of patients with unresectable liver metastases is challenging. Regional therapies to the liver have been developed that maximize treatment of the localized disease process without systemic toxic adverse effects. We discuss the procedural aspects of liver chemosaturation with percutaneous hepatic perfusion (CS-PHP).

Concepts: Cancer, Metastasis, Diseases and disorders, Liver, Paracetamol, Jaundice


Gilbert’s syndrome (GS) is characterized by a benign, mildly elevated bilirubin concentration in the blood. Recent reports show clear protection from cardiovascular disease in this population. Protection of lipids, proteins and other macromolecules from oxidation by bilirubin represents the most commonly accepted mechanism contributing to protection in this group. However, a recent meta-analysis estimated that bilirubin only accounts for ∼34% of the cardioprotective effects within analysed studies. To reveal the additional contributing variables we have explored circulating cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations, which appear to be decreased in hyperbilirubinemic individuals/animals, and are accompanied by lower body mass index in highly powered studies. These results suggest that bilirubin could be responsible for the development of a lean and hypolipidemic state in GS. Here we also discuss the possible contributing mechanisms that might reduce circulating cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations in individuals with syndromes affecting bilirubin metabolism/excretion, which we hope will stimulate future research in the area. In summary, this article is the first review of lipid status in animal and human studies of hyperbilirubinemia and explores possible mechanisms that could contribute to lowering circulating lipid parameters and further explain cardiovascular protection in Gilbert’s syndrome.

Concepts: Metabolism, Body mass index, Syndromes, Hepatology, Bilirubin, Jaundice, Gilbert's syndrome, Crigler-Najjar syndrome