Lay Summaries - Volume 4 Issue 7

Lay Summary:  Poor quality of subcutaneous adipose tissue (fat under the skin) is associated with higher mortality in patients with end-stage liver disease. Fat cells are smaller in patients with poor adipose tissue quality.
Lay Summary:  T cells are a pivotal component in the defence against viruses. We show that patients with cirrhosis have impaired SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell responses and lower antibody levels after mRNA vaccination against COVID-19 compared with healthy controls. Patients with more advanced liver disease exhibited particularly inferior vaccine responses. These results call for additional preventative measures in these patients.
Lay Summary:  Bacterial infections are a common issue in hospitalized patients with decompensated cirrhosis (i.e. patients hospitalized due to severe complications of advanced chronic liver disease). Patients with decompensated cirrhosis who acquire infections may be at increased risk of bleeding complications following invasive procedures (that is a procedure in which the body is penetrated or entered, for instance by a needle or a tube). As bleeding complications in decompensated cirrhosis are associated with a high risk of further decompensation and death, there is an urgent need to understand the factors responsible for such increased bleeding tendency. Herein, we investigated the alterations of hemostasis (that is the physiological process responsible for clot formation and stability) in patients with decompensated cirrhosis and bacterial infections. We found that development of bacterial infections in these patients is associated with alterations of hemostasis (particularly of platelets and clotting cascade) that may increase the risk of both bleeding and thrombotic complications.
Lay Summary:  Autoimmune hepatitis is an immune-mediated liver disease. Despite effective treatments, patients often relapse, which can lead to clinical deterioration and adverse outcomes. Herein, we studied the importance of the complement system (a form of innate immunity) in patients with autoimmune hepatitis. We found that the levels of a protein called factor H, which regulates the complement system, could be a potential biomarker of disease severity and relapse, and could even have therapeutic potential for patients with AIH.
Lay Summary:  Irradiation is an efficient cancer therapy, however, its applicability to the liver is limited by life-threatening radiation-induced hepatic fibrosis. We have developed a new mouse model of radiation-induced liver fibrosis, that recapitulates the human disease. Our model highlights the role of mitochondrial DNA instability in the development of irradiation-induced liver fibrosis. This new model and subsequent findings will help increase our understanding of the hepatic reaction to irradiation and to find strategies that protect the liver, enabling the expanded use of radiotherapy to treat hepatic tumors.