Lay Summaries - Volume 72 Issue 6

Lay Summary:  The neutrophils of patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis are associated with a defect in the IL-33/ST2 pathway. This defect is associated with lower migration capacities in neutrophils and a higher probability of getting infected. Administration of IL-33 to the neutrophils at least partly restores this defect and may be effective at reducing the risk of infection in patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis.
Lay Summary:  This is the first large, prospective cohort study to simultaneously evaluate the impact of obesity and physical activity on the long-term risk of liver-related mortality in 2 nationwide populations of American men and women. The study demonstrated that obesity predicted significantly increased risk of liver-related mortality, while physical activity predicted significantly lower risk of liver-related mortality. Importantly, the excess risk of liver-related mortality observed with obesity was no longer statistically significant among adults who engaged in the equivalent of average-pace walking for 3 hours or more, per week.
Lay Summary:  Despite clear associations between the PNPLA3 rs738409 variant and elevated risk of progression from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to more severe forms of liver disease, it remains unknown if PNPLA3 rs738409 plays a role in the age of NAFLD onset. Herein, we found that this risk variant is associated with an earlier age of NAFLD and other liver disease diagnoses; an observation most pronounced in Hispanic Americans. We conclude that PNPLA3 rs738409 could be used to better understand liver disease risk within vulnerable populations and identify patients that may benefit from early prevention strategies.
Lay Summary:  Currently there are insufficient long-term safety data in children born to mothers who took antiviral agents during pregnancy to prevent mother-to-infant transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV). In this study, we found that children of HBV-infected mothers who did or did not receive tenofovir disoproxil fumarate treatment during late pregnancy had comparable long-term growth, renal function, and bone development up to 6-7 years after delivery.
Lay Summary:  In Caucasians with chronic hepatitis B, the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma after the first 5 years of entecavir or tenofovir therapy depends on age, baseline cirrhosis status and liver stiffness at year 5, which can provide simple and reliable risk scores for hepatocellular carcinoma prediction and surveillance beyond year 5. In patients with cirrhosis at baseline, liver stiffness <12 kPa at year 5 is associated with lower HCC risk, but surveillance may be still required.
Lay Summary:  Hepatitis delta is a virus that affects the liver. The virus is known to have different subtypes, called genotypes. With this research we discovered that hepatitis delta virus genotype 1 behaves differently than genotype 5 and causes faster development of liver disease. This is important for education of our patients and to determine how often we need to check our patients.
Lay Summary:  The mortality caused by acute hepatitis E virus infection is usually low in the healthy population, but it is unclear how it affects patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection, as they already have compromised liver function. Our data show that the 1-year mortality rate is 35.7% in patients with hepatitis B-related cirrhosis who contract hepatitis E virus. Hepatitis E may accelerate disease progression in patients with chronic hepatitis B.
Lay Summary:  It is important to assess treatments for hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the real world, as patient populations tend to be more diverse and potentially less adherent to treatment compared to those in clinical trials. Results from 18 studies performed in real-world clinics were pooled and analyzed to investigate the effectiveness and safety of a direct-acting antiviral combination (glecaprevir/pibrentasvir) in routine clinical practice. This analysis showed that glecaprevir/pibrentasvir is highly effective and well tolerated across all HCV genotypes and patient groups studied. It also showed that results seen in the real world are similar to the results seen in clinical trials, even in patients historically considered more challenging to treat.
Lay Summary:  Autophagy, a cellular self-cleansing process, is impaired in various forms of human cholestasis. Bile acids, which accumulate in cholestatic liver disease, induce Rubicon, a protein that inhibits proper execution of autophagy. Ursodeoxycholic acid, which is the first-line treatment option for many cholestatic liver diseases, induces hepatic autophagy along with reducing Rubicon.
Lay Summary:  Episodes of acute impairment of kidney function are common in patients with cirrhosis. This study shows that the development of chronic impairment of kidney function is frequent in patients surviving these acute episodes and that it is associated with a higher risk of developing other complications of cirrhosis and to a higher rate of 3-month hospital readmissions.
    Cirrhosis and Liver Failure
  • Abstract Image
    Michael Praktiknjo, Macarena Simón-Talero, Julia Römer, Davide Roccarina, Javier Martínez, Katharina Lampichler, Anna Baiges, Gavin Low, Elba Llop, Martin H. Maurer, Alexander Zipprich, Michela Triolo, Geert Maleux, Annette Dam Fialla, Claus Dam, Judit Vidal-González, Avik Majumdar, Carmen Picón, Daniel Toth, Anna Darnell, Juan G. Abraldes, Marta López, Christian Jansen, Johannes Chang, Robert Schierwagen, Frank Uschner, Guido Kukuk, Carsten Meyer, Daniel Thomas, Karsten Wolter, Christian P. Strassburg, Wim Laleman, Vincenzo La Mura, Cristina Ripoll, Annalisa Berzigotti, José Luis Calleja, Puneeta Tandon, Virginia Hernandez-Gea, Thomas Reiberger, Agustín Albillos, Emmanuel A. Tsochatzis, Aleksander Krag, Joan Genescà, Jonel Trebicka for the Baveno VI-SPSS group of the Baveno Cooperation
    Journal of Hepatology, Vol. 72, Issue 6, p1140–1150
    Open Access
Lay Summary:  The prevalence of spontaneous portosystemic shunts (SPSS) is higher in patients with more advanced chronic liver disease. The presence of more than 1 SPSS is common in advanced chronic liver disease and is associated with the development of hepatic encephalopathy. This study shows that total cross-sectional SPSS area (rather than diameter of the single largest SPSS) predicts survival in patients with advanced chronic liver disease. Our results support the clinical use of total cross-sectional SPSS area for risk stratification and decision-making in the management of SPSS.
Lay Summary:  Transarterial radioembolization is a microembolic transarterial treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma. In our study, we found that early stage patients, where segmental injections are planned, exhibited low lung shunting, effectively eliminating the risk of radiation pneumonitis. We propose that the lung shunt study be eliminated in this subgroup, thus leading to fewer procedures, a cost reduction and improved convenience for patients.
Lay Summary:  Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents an important challenge for global health. Recent findings showed that systemic or local hypothyroidism is associated with HCC development. In rat models, we showed that administration of the thyroid hormone T3 impaired HCC progression, even when given at late stages. This is relevant from a translational point of view as HCC is often diagnosed at an advanced stage when it is no longer amenable to curative treatments. Thyroid hormones and/or thyromimetics could be useful for the treatment of patients with HCC.
Lay Summary:  The immunologic characteristics and the role of CD69+CD103-CD8+ T cells, which are a major population of human liver CD8+ T cells, remain unknown. Our study shows that these T cells have a terminally differentiated tissue-resident phenotype, and their effector functions depend on a transcription factor, HIF-2α. Furthermore, these T cells were activated and expressed higher levels of HIF-2α in liver pathologies, suggesting that they play an important role in immune responses in liver tissues and the pathogenesis of human liver disease.
Lay Summary:  Hepatomegaly can be triggered by numerous etiological factors, including infections, liver cancer, metabolic disturbances, toxicant exposure, as well as alcohol abuse or drug-induced hepatitis. This study identified the oxidative stress response transcription factor NRF2 as a common mediator of hepatomegaly. NRF2 activation results in elevated expression of several growth factors. These growth factors are made by hepatocytes and activate their receptors in an autocrine fashion to stimulate the accumulation of glycogen and lipids that lead to hepatocyte and liver enlargement. The protein kinase AKT plays a key role in this process and its inhibition leads to reversal of hepatomegaly.