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, 44 (4), 315-22

N-glycan Based Biomarker Distinguishing Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis From Steatosis Independently of Fibrosis

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N-glycan Based Biomarker Distinguishing Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis From Steatosis Independently of Fibrosis

Bram Blomme et al. Dig Liver Dis.

Abstract

Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a spectrum of disorders ranging from steatosis to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Steatosis of the liver is benign, whereas NASH can progress to cirrhosis or even hepatocellular carcinoma. Currently, a liver biopsy is the only validated method to distinct NASH from steatosis.

Aim: The objective of this study was to identify a biomarker specific for NASH based on the N-glycosylation of serum proteins.

Methods: N-glycosylation patterns were assessed using DNA sequencer-assisted fluorophore-assisted capillary electrophoresis and compared with histology.

Results: Initially, a glycomarker (log[NGA2F]/[NA2]) was developed based on the results obtained in 51 obese non-alcoholic patients scheduled for bariatric surgery. Multivariate analysis showed that our glycomarker had the lowest P-value of all biomarkers in distinguishing NASH from steatosis (P=0.069). The glycomarker was validated in a cohort of 224 non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients. In both pilot and validation study, glycomarker score increased in ascending amount of lobular inflammation (single-factor ANOVA, P ≤ 0.001 and P=0.012, respectively). The N-glycan profile of immunoglobulin G in the NASH population confirmed the significantly increased undergalactosylation present in these patients.

Conclusion: Our glycomarker specifically recognises liver inflammation in obese individuals which is the main trigger for the development of steatohepatitis and can differentiate between steatosis and NASH.

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