Lay Summaries - Volume 2 Issue 4
Lay Summary: Fatty liver is a very common form of hepatic disease, leading to millions of cases of cirrhosis every year. Patients are often asymptomatic until becoming very sick. Therefore, it is important that we expand our knowledge of the early stages of disease pathogenesis, to enable early diagnosis. Herein, we show that even in the early stages of fatty liver disease, there are significant alterations in genes involved in the inflammatory response, suggesting that the hepatic immune system is disturbed even following minor and undetectable changes in liver fat content. This could have implications for the diagnosis and clinical management of fatty liver disease.
Lay Summary: “Centre allocation” (CA) made it possible to save 6 out of 100 available liver grafts that had been refused at least 5 times for use in the top-listed candidates on the national waiting list. In this series, the largest on this topic, we showed that, in centres which transplanted most of the CA grafts, using grafts repeatedly refused for top-listed candidates did not appear to be detrimental. In the context of organ shortage, our results, which could be of interest for any country using this CA strategy, should encourage policy makers to reassess some aspects of graft allocation by restricting CA grafts to targeted centres, fostering the “best” matching between grafts and candidates on the waiting list.
Lay Summary: Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection were recruited from centres in the United States and China. During follow-up, a higher percentage of the American patients had clinical outcomes: liver failure, liver cancer, liver transplant or liver-related deaths than the Chinese patients, mainly because more American patients had cirrhosis at enrolment. Older age and more advanced liver disease were associated with higher incidence of outcomes overall and viral clearance after hepatitis C treatment was associated with a lower incidence of outcomes in patients with advanced cirrhosis. Our findings highlight the importance of improving diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C before advanced liver disease develops.
Lay Summary: When transported between donors and recipients, even cold-stored liver grafts need oxygen to maintain their viability. To provide them with oxygen, we added a marine worm super haemoglobin (M101) to the cold-storage solution UWCS. Using a pig liver transplant model, we revealed that livers cold stored with UWCS+M101 showed improved oxygenation compared with simple cold-storage solutions, but did not reach the oxygenation level achieved with machine perfusion.
Lay Summary: We demonstrate that the laboratory parameters used to assess bleeding risk of patients with liver disease, e.g. prothrombin time/international normalised ratio (PT/INR) and activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), are inadequate for this purpose because they are correlated with a prothrombotic coagulation profile. In this article, we highlight the need for alternative parameters to assess bleeding risk in patients with liver disease.
Lay Summary: IgG4-related disease is a benign inflammatory multiorgan disease which predominantly affects the pancreas and biliary tree. Clinical symptoms, laboratory and imaging finding are often difficult to distinguish from pancreatic or biliary tract cancer. This prospective trial indicates that the recently proposed blood IgG4/IgG RNA ratio does not accurately distinguish benign IgG4-RD from malignant pancreatobiliary disease.
Lay Summary: A small proportion of patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) are refractory to standard treatments; these patients bear the highest probability of developing decompensated cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma because third-line treatment options are not well established. In this case study, we showed that third-line add-on therapy with belimumab, a B cell-activating factor inhibitor, could be an alternative and promising treatment option in patients with advanced AIH who did not respond to conventional treatment.