Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease worldwide and can progress to liver cirrhosis, liver failure, or cancer.
In a new study from Osaka University, researchers found a noninvasive biomarker that can identify patients at risk of NAFLD complications using a simple blood test.
Currently, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) diagnosis requires an invasive liver biopsy which can lead to procedural complications.
Liver deterioration can be deferred by lifestyle modifications comprising diet and exercise; therefore, early diagnosis is key.
In the study, the team examined whether they could devise a diagnostic screen using transcriptomics, the entire array of an organism’s messenger RNA molecules derived from the expression of the genome.
They obtained liver tissue from over 300 Japanese and European patients with NAFLD and performed RNA sequencing.
Remarkably, from the protein patterns, they could not only distinguish NASH from NAFL, but also determine the molecular hallmarks of NASH.
They found that gene THBS2 expression in liver cells paralleled the clinical indicators used to categorize the liver changes.
Blood levels of protein TSP-2 in NAFLD patients were much higher in NASH.
The finding suggests that a simple and convenient blood test can provide a clinically useful early warning system for complications of NAFLD.
It can also inform lifestyle modifications or other interventions that may alter the course of the disease and improve the prognosis.
If you care about liver disease, please read studies about this stuff in vegetables may help fight fatty liver disease and findings of why it is hard for people with fatty liver disease to lose weight.
For more information about liver disease prevention and treatment, please see recent studies about green tea combined with exercise may help treat fatty liver disease and results showing that even mild fatty liver disease may raise early death risk.
The study is published in Hepatology. One author of the study is Kazuhiro Kozumi.
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