Lay Summaries - Volume 2 Issue 5

Lay Summary:  Transcriptomic analysis of diverse liver diseases revealed alterations in common and distinct pathways. Specifically, in cholestasis, we found that detoxification genes and their activity are increased. Thus, cholestatic patients may have an unintended consequence on drug metabolism and not only have a beneficial effect against liver toxicity, but also may require adjustments to their therapeutic dosage.
Lay Summary:  The main finding of this meta-analysis is that the use of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is associated with a mortality reduction of more than 70% at 3 months amongst patients with alcoholic hepatitis (AH) compared with controls who did not receive this therapy. However, owing to the high heterogeneity observed in the overall analysis caused by conflicting results between the Asian and European studies, G-CSF cannot currently be recommended for patients with AH, particularly in Europe. Whether these differences can be explained by ethnic differences or disparities in patient selection and disease severity remains unclear.
Lay Summary:  Breath malodour has been associated with a failing liver since the ancient Greeks. Analytical chemistry has provided us an insight into ubiquitous volatile organic compounds associated with liver (and other) diseases. This has vastly improved our understanding of the mechanistic processes of liver damage. Our study aims to identify volatile organic compounds which are specific to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and that can be exploited for rapid diagnostics.
Lay Summary:  Although HBV-related liver disease is highly prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, the associated virological characteristics are poorly studied. Using clinical data from African patients chronically infected with HBV, an assessment of the virological variability (genotypes and mutations) and exposure to AFB1, a toxin often contaminating food, was carried out. Our results show that HBV genotypes, the presence of a highly prevalent mutant form of HBV, and AFB1 exposure contribute to the high liver cancer risk in this population.
Lay Summary:  During cirrhosis, the liver becomes scarred, stiff, and unable to perform its normal functions efficiently. In this study, we demonstrated that cells from diseased (stiff) livers recovered their functionality when placed in a soft environment (as that of a healthy liver). Furthermore, treatments aimed at tricking liver cells into believing they are in a healthy, soft liver improved their function and could potentially contribute to treat cirrhosis.
Lay Summary:  There has been little research into the socioeconomic burden associated with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The GAIN study provides real-world data on the direct medical, direct non-medical, and indirect costs associated with NASH, including patient-reported outcomes in five European countries (UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy) and the USA. Mean total annual per patient cost of NASH was estimated at €2,763, €4,917, and €5,509 for the direct medical, direct non-medical, and indirect cost categories, respectively.
Lay Summary:  Resistance-associated substitutions (RAS) in the genome of the hepatitis C virus are 1 of the major causes for failed treatment. We investigated RASs after failure of various treatments for chronic hepatitis C, and found that more complicated RASs accumulated in the viral genome with successive failed treatments. The highly resistant P32del RAS at NS5A region was uniquely found in patients for whom DAA treatments had failed, and was linked to the presence and absence of specific RASs.
Lay Summary:  The diagnostic performance and feasibility of liver surface nodularity was similar to that of liver stiffness measurement (LSM) for the detection of clinically significant portal hypertension in patients with compensated cirrhosis. Thus, liver surface nodularity could be an option for the preoperative detection of clinically significant portal hypertension in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Combining liver surface nodularity with LSM-spleen-size-to-platelet ratio score resulted in the accurate detection of clinically significant portal hypertension in >75% of patients, thus limiting the need for HVPG measurements.