Adacolumn Granulocyte-Apheresis for Alcoholic Hepatitis: Preliminary Study

Transplant Proc. 2016 Mar;48(2):352-8. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2015.12.055.


Introduction: Alcoholic hepatitis (AH) is an acute-on-chronic inflammatory response affecting the liver. It has been recognized that white blood cells (WBCs) are involved in the pathogenesis and in the prognosis of AH. The aim of study was to use Adacolumn, which can selectively adsorb myeloid linage leucocytes (granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages) from the blood in the column and improve the clinical status of patients.

Materials: Six patients with a diagnosis of AH were treated with Adacolumn granulocyte-apheresis therapy.

Inclusion criteria: patients not responders to corticosteroids therapy with Maddrey Discriminant Function (MDF) >32 and MELD score 20-26. The patients underwent five 1-hour sessions for 5 consecutive days with a follow-up at 28 days. The column was placed in an extracorporeal setting with a perfusion rate of 30 mL/min and a duration of 60 minutes. Liver parameters, WBC count, proinflammatory cytokines, coagulation, and predictive scores were valued before and after the cycle of apheresis treatment.

Results: After 5 days, the findings showed a significant improvement of WBC count (P < .014) and cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-6 (P < .019), tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) (P < .02), and IL-8 (P < .029). The results probably determined a reduction of aspartate transaminase (AST; P < .02) and alanine transaminase (ALT; P < .011), although we did not observe a significant improve in bilirubin, prothrombin time (PT), and Maddrey score. The improvement of MELD score, depending on an improvement of international normalized ratio for administration of plasma, was not considered. At day 28 of follow-up, PT, IL-6, TNFα, AST and ALT results significantly improved.

Conclusions: The Adacolumn apheresis was safe and was able to determine an improvement of clinical status of patients with reduction of inflammatory markers. More patients are needed to validate these results.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / metabolism
  • Bilirubin / blood
  • Blood Coagulation Tests
  • Female
  • Granulocytes*
  • Hepatitis, Alcoholic / metabolism
  • Hepatitis, Alcoholic / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Interleukin-8 / blood
  • Leukapheresis*
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-8
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Bilirubin