Background/aims: The pathogenesis of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to examine genetic influences on NASH pathogenesis.
Methods: Blood samples from 63 patients with biopsy-proven NASH and 150 healthy controls were analyzed by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). Two functional polymorphisms were studied: the -493 G/T polymorphism in the promoter of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) and the 1183 T/C polymorphism in the mitochondrial targeting sequence of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD).
Results: NASH patients had a much higher incidence of the MTP gene G allele (P=0.001) and of the G/G genotype (P=0.002) compared to the controls. Fat occupied more area in liver lobules and the stage of NASH was advanced in patients with the G/G-genotype than in patients with G/T-genotype (P=0.04). NASH patients also had a higher incidence of the MnSOD T/T genotype (P=0.016).
Conclusions: The G allele in the MTP promoter leads to decreased MTP transcription, less export of triglyceride from hepatocytes, and greater intracellular triglyceride accumulation. The T allele in MnSOD mitochondrial targeting sequence leads to less transport of MnSOD to the mitochondria. Therefore, functional polymorphisms in MTP and MnSOD may be involved in determining susceptibility of NASH.