Plasma eicosanoids as noninvasive biomarkers of liver fibrosis in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2020 May 26:13:1756284820923904. doi: 10.1177/1756284820923904. eCollection 2020.


Background: Eicosanoid and related docosanoid polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and their oxygenated derivatives have been proposed as noninvasive lipidomic biomarkers of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Therefore, we investigated associations between plasma eicosanoids and liver fibrosis to evaluate their utility in diagnosing and monitoring NASH-related fibrosis.

Methods: Our analysis used baseline eicosanoid data from 427 patients with biopsy-confirmed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and longitudinal measurements along with liver fibrosis staging from 63 patients with NASH and stage 2/3 fibrosis followed for 24 weeks in a phase II trial.

Results: At baseline, four eicosanoids were significantly associated with liver fibrosis stage: 11,12-DIHETE, tetranor 12-HETE, adrenic acid, and 14, 15-DIHETE. Over 24 weeks of follow up, a combination of changes in seven eicosanoids [5-HETE, 7,17-DHDPA, adrenic acid, arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), 16-HDOHE, and 9-HODE) had good diagnostic accuracy for the prediction of ⩾1 stage improvement in fibrosis (AUROC: 0.74; 95% CI: 0.62-0.87), and a combination of four eicosanoids (7,17-DHDPA, 14,15-DIHETRE, 9-HOTRE, and free adrenic acid) accurately predicted improvement in hepatic collagen content (AUROC: 0.72; 95% CI: 0.50-0.77).

Conclusion: This study provides preliminary evidence that plasma eicosanoids may serve as noninvasive biomarkers of liver fibrosis and may predict liver fibrosis improvement in NASH.

Keywords: HETE; HETRE; NAFLD; NASH; adrenic acid; arachidonic acid; eicosanoids; fibrosis; lipidomics; liver.