Lay Summaries - Volume 72 Issue 3

Lay Summary:  Candidalysin is a peptide toxin secreted by the commensal gut fungus Candida albicans. Candidalysin enhances alcohol-associated liver disease independently of the β-glucan receptor CLEC7A on bone marrow-derived cells in mice without affecting intestinal permeability. Candidalysin is cytotoxic to primary hepatocytes, indicating a direct role of candidalysin on ethanol-induced liver disease. Candidalysin might be an effective target for therapy in patients with alcohol-associated liver disease.
Lay Summary:  Quantification of liver fat by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is currently used to assess treatment responses in patients with fatty liver, with the assumption that improvements in liver fat translate into less inflammation, necrosis, and fibrosis in the liver. However, in this article, we showed that changes in liver fat do not necessarily translate into changes in these parameters. This means that MRI may not be as useful to assess treatment response in patients with fatty liver as previously believed.
Lay Summary:  Genetic and environmental factors strongly impact on the pathogenesis and progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The FGF19/FGFR4/KLB pathway plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of NAFLD. The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of a genetic variant in the KLB gene on the severity of liver disease. Our data suggest that the KLB protein plays a protective role against lipotoxicity and inflammation in hepatocytes.
Lay Summary:  Exhaustion of CD8+ T cells is an important factor in the development of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. CD8+ T cells expressing the receptor CXCR5 are partially exhausted, but have potent antiviral activity, as they produce high levels of HBV-specific cytokines in chronic HBV infection. Increased expression of CXCL13 within the liver facilitates the recruitment of CXCR5+CD8+T cells and establishes effective immune control of HBV infection.
Lay Summary:  Direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy for hepatitis C is highly effective and well tolerated. The SMART-C randomised trial evaluated an 8-week regimen of glecaprevir-pibrentasvir for hepatitis C treatment, using a simplified monitoring schedule that included no pathology tests or clinic visits during treatment. This simplified strategy produced a high cure rate (92%), but this was not equivalent to the standard monitoring schedule cure rate (95%).
Lay Summary:  This study was the first to evaluate an 8-week direct-acting antiviral (DAA) regimen active against all major types of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in untreated patients with compensated cirrhosis. High virological cure rates were achieved with glecaprevir/pibrentasvir across HCV genotypes 1–6, and these high cure rates did not depend on any patient or viral characteristics present before treatment. This may simplify care and allow non-specialist healthcare professionals to treat these patients, contributing to global efforts to eliminate HCV.
Lay Summary:  Acetaminophen poisoning is one of the most common causes of liver injury. This study examined a new biomarker of acetaminophen toxicity, which measures the amount of toxic metabolite exposure called acetaminophen-protein adduct. We found that those who developed liver injury had a higher initial level of acetaminophen-protein adducts than those who did not.
Lay Summary:  There are still controversies concerning the impact of non-selective beta blockers on outcomes in patients with decompensated cirrhosis, especially in those with refractory ascites. In this study of 584 cirrhotic patients evaluated for liver transplantation, who underwent right heart catheterization, we have shown that global cardiac performance measured by left ventricular stroke work index is lower in patients with refractory ascites. Administration of non-selective beta blockers in patients with compromised cardiac performance may increase waiting list mortality. These results highlight the prognostic value of global cardiac performance in patients with end-stage cirrhosis.
Lay Summary:  New oral antivirals can cure chronic hepatitis C infection, however patients with advanced chronic liver disease are still at risk of presenting with liver-related complications. The most frequent complication after oral antiviral therapy in asymptomatic patients with advanced chronic liver disease was liver cancer. The use of simple parameters such liver stiffness and albumin levels after treatment can help to identify patients at higher or lower risk of liver cancer.
Lay Summary:  Liver transplantation (LT) for patients with acute-on-chronic liver failure grade 3 (ACLF-3) significantly improves survival, but 1-year survival probability after LT remains lower than the expected outcomes for transplant centers. Our study reveals that among patients transplanted within 28 days of waitlist registration, improvement of ACLF-3 at listing to a lower grade of ACLF at transplantation significantly enhances post-transplant survival, even among patients aged 60 years or older. Subgroup analysis further demonstrates that improvement in circulatory failure, brain failure, or removal from mechanical ventilation have the strongest impact on post-transplant survival.
Lay Summary:  Heterogeneity in the regional immune microenvironments of tumors has been reported in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. This heterogeneity could be an obstacle when trying to reliably evaluate the immune microenvironment of an entire tumor using only a single-region tumor sample, which may be the only option in patients with more advanced disease. Our study utilized both immunohistochemical and transcriptomic analyses to demonstrate that a single-region sample is reliable for evaluation of tumor immune microenvironments in 60–70% of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.
Lay Summary:  Despite strong evidence of omega-3 fatty acids having liver-directed, anti-inflammatory and pro-regenerative action in various rodent models, 2 single omega-3 fatty acid infusions given to patients before and during liver surgery failed to reduce complications. Because single omega-3 fatty acid infusions failed to confer liver protection in this trial, they cannot currently be recommended.
Lay Summary:  Our present study identifies the essential role of the protein PSMP for the development and progression of liver fibrosis in humans and mice. PSMP promotes liver fibrosis through inflammatory macrophage infiltration, polarization and production of proinflammatory cytokines, as well as direct activation of hepatic stellate cells via its receptor CCR2. A PSMP antibody can significantly reduce liver fibrosis development in vivo. These findings indicate that PSMP is a potential therapeutic target and its antibody is a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of liver fibrosis.
Lay Summary:  A schistosome-specific microRNA, sja-miR-2162, is consistently present in the hepatic stellate cells of mice infected with S. japonicum, where it promotes hepatic fibrosis in the host through cross-species regulation of host fibrosis-related genes. The efficient and sustained inhibition of pathogen-derived micRNAs may represent a novel therapeutic intervention for infectious diseases.
Lay Summary:  Autophagy is a physiological process controlling endothelial homeostasis in vascular beds outside the liver. This study demonstrates that autophagy is defective in the liver endothelial cells of patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. This defect promotes liver inflammation and fibrosis at early stages of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, but also at advanced stages of chronic liver disease.