Lay Summaries - Volume 1 Issue 4

Lay Summary: Using the combination of elevated alanine aminotransferase and fatty infiltration on ultrasound increases the detection rate of suspected non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in at-risk children. Notably, a significant percentage of children with fatty infiltration on ultrasound have low alanine aminotransferase (≪52/44). Children with fatty infiltration on ultrasound and low alanine aminotransferase may be less likely to have features of the metabolic syndrome.
Lay Summary: Cirrhosis and diabetes are chronic diseases that weaken the immune system and increase the risk of infections, but it is unknown whether their combined effects exceed the effect of cirrhosis alone. We showed that the risk of infections was the same in patients with cirrhosis, ascites and diabetes as in patients with cirrhosis and ascites alone. Thus, their combined effects do not exceed the effect of cirrhosis alone.
Lay Summary: More than 10% of patients with cirrhosis hospitalized because of an acute decompensation develop acute-on-chronic liver failure, which is associated with high short-term mortality, during their hospital stay. We found that the combination of 3 easily obtainable variables (model for end-stage liver disease score, leukocyte count and hemoglobin level) help to identify and stratify patients according to their risk of developing nosocomial acute-on-chronic liver failure, from nil to 59%. Moreover, if a nosocomial bacterial infection occurs, such an incidence proportionally increases from nil to 83%. This simple approach helps to identify patients at risk of developing nosocomial acute-on-chronic liver failure at admission to hospital, enabling clinicians to put in place preventive measures.
Lay Summary: The experimental drug Myrcludex B binds the sodium taurocholate co-transporting polypeptide (NTCP), the viral entry receptor for the hepatitis B and D virus (HBV/HDV), and thereby prevents infection, but also inhibits hepatic bile salt uptake leading to transiently elevated bile salt levels. This study describes that while the normalization of plasma bile salt levels likely depends on the protein turnover rate of NTCP, Myrcludex B partly escapes co-degradation with NTCP by transferring from one NTCP molecule to another. This is of importance to the HBV/HDV research field as it provides a potential explanation for the distinct kinetics and dose-dependence of Myrcludex B’s effects on viral infection versus bile salt transport.
Lay Summary: Autoimmune liver diseases occur when the body’s immune cells target their own liver cells. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) prevent autoimmunity, thus they are a potential therapy for autoimmune liver diseases. In patients with autoimmune hepatitis, Treg infusion is safe, with nearly a quarter of infused Tregs homing to the liver and suppressing tissue-damaging effector T cells. Thus, Tregs are a potentially curative immune cell therapy for early autoimmune liver diseases.