Novel serum markers of fibrosis progression for the follow-up of hepatitis C virus-infected patients

Am J Pathol. 2009 Jul;175(1):46-53. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2009.080850. Epub 2009 May 28.


Liver biopsy is considered the gold-standard method for the assessment of liver fibrosis during follow-up of hepatitis C virus-infected patients, but this invasive procedure is not devoid of complications. The aim of the present study was to identify novel non-invasive markers of fibrosis progression. By microarray analysis, we compared transcript levels in two extreme stages of fibrosis from 16 patients. Informative transcripts were validated by real-time PCR and used for the assessment of fibrosis in 23 additional patients. Sixteen transcripts were found to be dysregulated during the fibrogenesis process. Among them, some were of great interest because their corresponding proteins could be serologically measured. Thus, the protein levels of inter-alpha inhibitor H1, serpin peptidase inhibitor clade F member 2, and transthyretin were all significantly different according to the four Metavir stages of fibrosis. In conclusion, we report here that dysregulation, at both the transcriptional and protein levels, exists during the fibrogenesis process. Our description of three novel serum markers and their potential use as serological tests for the non-invasive diagnosis of liver fibrosis open new opportunities for better follow-up of hepatitis C virus-infected patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alpha-Globulins / biosynthesis
  • Alpha-Globulins / genetics
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus
  • Hepatitis C / blood*
  • Hepatitis C / genetics
  • Hepatitis C / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / blood*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / virology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Prealbumin / biosynthesis
  • Prealbumin / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • alpha-2-Antiplasmin / biosynthesis
  • alpha-2-Antiplasmin / genetics


  • Alpha-Globulins
  • Biomarkers
  • Prealbumin
  • SERPINF2 protein, human
  • alpha-2-Antiplasmin
  • inter-alpha-inhibitor