Is HMGB1 a new indirect marker for revealing fibrosis in chronic hepatitis and a new therapeutic target in treatment?

Viral Immunol. 2010 Dec;23(6):633-8. doi: 10.1089/vim.2010.0080.


In chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, inflammation-associated cytokines including proinflammatory cytokines are involved in the development and progression of liver fibrosis. The liver is a source of many cytokines that may influence liver function. High-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) was identified as an inflammatory cytokine. HMGB1 is present in nuclei of all mammalian cells and is released both through active secretion from various cells and by passive release from necrotic cells. Here we explore the relationship between HMGB1 plasma levels and liver fibrosis. HMGB1 serum levels, HBV-DNA, and ALT values were significantly higher in patients with chronic HBV than in controls. In addition, HMGB1 serum levels were significantly higher in patients with low fibrosis (fibrosis score 1-2) compared to those with high fibrosis (fibrosis score 3-4). In the present study, we have shown that HMGB1 is a noninvasive, repeatable, and convenient marker for distinguishing advanced fibrosis from low fibrosis in chronic HBV patients. We believe that the inhibition of HMGB1 may reduce inflammation, apoptosis, and fibrosis, and may stop the progression of chronic liver disease. Furthermore, we are of the opinion that fibrotic progression in chronic liver patients may be prevented by the inhibition of HMGB1, and that this substance can be a new means of following chronic HBV treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Female
  • HMGB1 Protein / blood*
  • HMGB1 Protein / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / complications*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / pathology
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / therapy
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / blood*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • HMGB1 Protein