Lay Summaries - Volume 4 Issue 2

Lay Summary:  In non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), hepatic blood flow is impaired and the blood pressure in the liver blood vessels is increased as a result of an increased response of the liver vasculature to vasoconstrictors. Using drugs to block the constriction of the intrahepatic vasculature, the resistance of the liver blood vessels decreases and the increased portal pressure is reduced. Moreover, blocking the vasoconstrictive endothelin-1 pathway restored parenchymal architecture and reduced disease severity.
Lay Summary:  We followed up individuals with no chronic HBV or HCV infection and described the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, the most common form of primary liver cancer) and mortality from liver-related disease by modifiable risk factors. This study estimated the incidence rate of HCC by selected lifestyle risk factors and chronic diseases conditions. Alcohol consumption, heart disease, diabetes, and abnormal blood liver function tests showed a strong association with HCC risk and mortality.
Lay Summary:  MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small pieces of nucleic acid that may turn expression of genes on or off. These molecules can be detected in the blood circulation, and their levels in blood may change in liver disease including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). To see if we could detect specific miRNA associated with advanced stages of NAFLD, we carried out miRNA sequencing in a group of 183 patients with NAFLD of varying severity together with 10 population controls. We found that a number of miRNAs showed changes, mainly increases, in serum levels but that 1 particular miRNA miR-193a-5p consistently increased. We confirmed this increase in a second group of cases with NAFLD. Measuring this miRNA in a blood sample may be a useful way to determine whether a patient has advanced NAFLD without an invasive liver biopsy.