Serum protein N-glycosylation in paediatric non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Pediatr Obes. 2012 Apr;7(2):165-73. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2011.00024.x. Epub 2012 Feb 10.


Objective: We have previously shown the potential of glycomics to distinguish patients with steatosis from patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in an adult population. The pattern of disease in paediatric patients is distinct from adults. The objective of this study was to characterize the N -glycomic profile of children with varying degrees of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and identify potential biomarker profiles of disease.

Methods: Serum protein N-glycosylation patterns of 51 paediatric NAFLD patients were assessed with deoxyribonucleic acid sequencer-assisted fluorophore-assisted capillary electrophoresis and compared with histology.

Results: Peak 1 (NGA2F) is the most significantly elevated N-glycan in paediatric NASH patients with peak 5 (NA2) demonstrating the largest decrease. The logarithmically transformed ratio of peak 1 to peak 5 was -0.85 (standard deviation [SD] 0.22) in patients with steatosis and borderline NASH and -0.73 (SD 0.12) in NASH (P = 0.02). The biomarker correlated well with the amount of lobular inflammation with a consistent increase of marker score in ascending stage of lobular inflammation. There was also a trend in differentiating patients with significant fibrosis ≥F2; -0.74 (SD 0.13) from patients with no/minimal fibrosis <F2; -0.86 (SD 0.24), P = 0.06. Analysis of the N-glycans on immunoglobulin G confirmed the undergalactosylation status typical for chronic inflammatory conditions.

Conclusions: This study is the first glycomic analysis performed in a paediatric NAFLD population. In agreement with the results obtained in adults, B cells play a dominant role in the N-glycan alterations of paediatric NASH patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biopsy
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fatty Liver / diagnosis*
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism*
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Female
  • Glycomics / methods*
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin G