Publications by authors named "Aleksander Krag"

160 Publications

Endotrophin and C6Ma3, serological biomarkers of type VI collagen remodelling, reflect endoscopic and clinical disease activity in IBD.

Sci Rep 2021 Jul 19;11(1):14713. Epub 2021 Jul 19.

Biomarkers and Research, Nordic Bioscience, Herlev Hovedgade 205-207, 2730, Herlev, Denmark.

In inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the chronic inflammation deeply affects the intestinal extracellular matrix. The aim of this study was to investigate if remodeling of the intestinal basement membrane type VI collagen was associated with pathophysiological changes in Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Serum from IBD patients (CD: n = 65; UC: n = 107; irritable bowel syndrome: n = 18; healthy subjects: n = 20) was investigated in this study. The serological biomarkers C6Ma3 (a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) generated fragment of the type VI collagen α3 chain) and PRO-C6, also called endotrophin (the C-terminus of the released C5 domain of the type VI collagen α3 chain) were measured by ELISAs. Serum C6Ma3 was increased in CD patients with moderate to severe and mild endoscopically active disease compared to endoscopic remission (p = 0.002, p = 0.0048), respectively, and could distinguish endoscopically active disease from remission with an AUC of 1.0 (sensitivity: 100%, specificity: 100%) (p < 0.0001), which was superior to CRP. C6Ma3 was increased in CD patients with moderate to severe clinical disease compared to mild and remission (p = 0.04; p = 0.009). Serum PRO-C6, endotrophin, was increased in CD patients in clinically remission compared to mild disease (p = 0.04) and moderate to severe disease (p = 0.065). In UC, fecal calprotectin was the only marker that alone could distinguish both clinical and endoscopic active and inactive disease. Type VI collagen degradation of the α3 chain mediated by MMPs was increased in CD patients with endoscopically active disease, measured by the serological biomarker C6Ma3, which was able to distinguish endoscopically active from inactive CD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-94321-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8289827PMC
July 2021

PRO-C3 and ADAPT algorithm accurately identify patients with advanced fibrosis due to alcohol-related liver disease.

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2021 Jul 12. Epub 2021 Jul 12.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Odense University Hospital, Odense C, Denmark.

Background: Alcohol is a main cause of preventable deaths and frequently leads to the development of alcohol-related liver disease. Due to the lack of diagnostics, patients are commonly diagnosed after developing clinical manifestations. Recently, the biomarker PRO-C3 was shown to accurately identify fibrosis due to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Aim: To assess the diagnostic accuracy of PRO-C3, the ADAPT score and best-performing non-patented serological test to detect advanced alcohol-related liver fibrosis.

Methods: We enrolled 426 patients with alcohol overuse in a prospective biopsy-controlled study. We evaluated the accuracy of PRO-C3 and the PRO-C3-based algorithm ADAPT to detect advanced liver fibrosis.

Results: The accuracy of PRO-C3 was good with an AUROC of 0.85 (95% CI 0.79-0.90). The best-performing non-patented test was the Forns index with an AUROC of 0.83 (95% CI 0.78-0.89). The ADAPT algorithm performed better as compared to both the Forns index and PRO-C3 alone with an AUROC = 0.88 (95% CI 0.83-0.93).

Conclusion: PRO-C3 is a new marker with high accuracy to detect advanced alcohol-related liver fibrosis. The diagnostic accuracy of PRO-C3 can be further improved by using the ADAPT algorithm in which the test outperforms currently available non-patented serological fibrosis markers. The study is registered in the Odense Patient Data Exploratory Network (OPEN) under study identification numbers OP_040 (https://open.rsyd.dk/OpenProjects/da/openProject.jsp?openNo=40) and OP_239 (https://open.rsyd.dk/OpenProjects/openProject.jsp?openNo=239&lang=da).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/apt.16513DOI Listing
July 2021

A Dynamic Aspartate-to-Alanine Aminotransferase Ratio Provides Valid Predictions of Incident Severe Liver Disease.

Hepatol Commun 2021 Jun 8;5(6):1021-1035. Epub 2021 Mar 8.

Unit of Hepatology Division of Upper Gastrointestinal Diseases Karolinska University Hospital Stockholm Sweden.

The aspartate-to-alanine aminotransferase ratio (AAR) is associated with liver fibrosis, but its predictive performance is suboptimal. We hypothesized that the association between AAR and liver disease depends on absolute transaminase levels and developed and validated a model to predict liver-related outcomes in the general population. A Cox regression model based on age, AAR, and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level (dynamic AAR [dAAR]) using restricted cubic splines was developed in Finnish population-based health-examination surveys (FINRISK, 2002-2012; n = 18,067) with linked registry data for incident liver-related hospitalizations, hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver death. The model was externally validated for liver-related outcomes in a Swedish population cohort (Swedish Apolipoprotein Mortality Risk [AMORIS] subcohort; n = 126,941) and for predicting outcomes and/or prevalent fibrosis/cirrhosis in biopsied patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), chronic hepatitis C, or alcohol-related liver disease (ALD). The dynamic AAR model predicted liver-related outcomes both overall (optimism-corrected C-statistic, 0.81) and in subgroup analyses of the FINRISK cohort and identified persons with >10% risk for liver-related outcomes within 10 years. In independent cohorts, the C-statistic for predicting liver-related outcomes up to a 10-year follow-up was 0.72 in the AMORIS cohort, 0.81 in NAFLD, and 0.75 in ALD. Area-under-the-curve (AUC) for detecting prevalent cirrhosis was 0.80-0.83 in NAFLD, 0.80 in hepatitis C, but only 0.71 in ALD. In ALD, model performance improved when using aspartate aminotransferase instead of ALT in the model (C-statistic, 0.84 for outcome; AUC, 0.82 for prevalent cirrhosis). A dAAR score provides prospective predictions for the risk of incident severe liver outcomes in the general population and helps detect advanced liver fibrosis/cirrhosis. The dAAR score could potentially be used for screening the unselected general population and as a trigger for further liver evaluations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep4.1700DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8183175PMC
June 2021

Development and prognostic relevance of a histologic grading and staging system for alcohol-related liver disease.

J Hepatol 2021 Jun 11. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Transitional and Clinical Research Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK; Department of Pathology, Aretaieio Hospital, Medical School, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens 11528, Greece.

Background & Aims: The SALVE Histopathology Group (SHG) developed and validated a grading and staging system for the clinical and full histological spectrum of alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) and evaluated its prognostic utility in a multinational cohort of 445 patients.

Methods: SALVE grade was described by semiquantitative scores for steatosis, activity (hepatocellular injury and lobular neutrophils) and cholestasis. The histological diagnosis of steatohepatitis due to ALD (histological ASH, hASH) was based on the presence of hepatocellular ballooning and lobular neutrophils. Fibrosis staging was adapted from the Clinical Research Network staging system for NAFLD and the Laennec staging system and reflects the pattern and extent of ALD fibrosis. There are 7 SALVE fibrosis stages (SFS) ranging from no fibrosis to severe cirrhosis.

Results: Interobserver κ-value for each grading and staging parameter was >0.6. In the whole study cohort long-term outcome was associated with activity grade and cholestasis, as well as cirrhosis with very broad septa (severe cirrhosis) (p<0.001 for all parameters). In decompensated ALD, adverse short-term outcome was associated with activity grade, hASH and cholestasis (p=0.038, 0.012 and 0.001, respectively), whereas in compensated ALD, hASH and severe fibrosis/cirrhosis were associated with decompensation-free survival (p=0.011 and 0.001, respectively). On multivariable analysis, severe cirrhosis emerged as an independent histological predictor of long-term survival in the whole study cohort. Severe cirrhosis and hASH were identified as independent predictors of short-term survival in decompensated ALD, and also as independent predictors of decompensation-free survival in compensated ALD.

Conclusion: The SALVE grading and staging system is a reproducible and prognostically relevant method for the histological assessment of disease activity and fibrosis in ALD.

Lay Summary: Patients with alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) may undergo liver biopsy to assess disease severity. We developed a system to classify ALD under the microscope by grading ALD activity and staging the extent of liver scarring and validated its prognostic performance in 445 patients from four European centers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2021.05.029DOI Listing
June 2021

Prognostic performance of seven biomarkers compared to liver biopsy in early alcohol-related liver disease.

J Hepatol 2021 Jun 9. Epub 2021 Jun 9.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Odense University Hospital, Denmark; Department of Clinical Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.

Background & Aims: Alcohol is the most common cause of liver-related mortality and morbidity. We therefore aimed to assess and compare the prognostic performance of elastography and blood-based markers to predict time to the first liver-related event, severe infection, and all-cause mortality in patients with a history of excess drinking.

Methods: Prospective cohort study of patients with early, compensated alcohol-related liver disease. At baseline, we obtained a liver biopsy, transient elastography (TE), 2-dimensional shear-wave elastography (2D-SWE), enhanced liver fibrosis test (ELF), FibroTest, fibrosis-4 index (FIB-4), non-alcoholic fatty liver fibrosis score (NFS) and Forns index. We compared C-statistics and time-dependent area under the receiver operating characteristics curve for prognostication. We used validated cut-points to create three risk groups for each test: low, intermediate and high risk.

Results: We followed 462 patients for a median of 49 months (IQR 31-70). Median age was 57 years, 76% were males, 20% had advanced fibrosis. Eighty-four patients (18%) developed a liver-related event after a median of 18 months (7-34). TE had the highest prognostic accuracy, with a C-statistic of 0.876, and time-dependent AUC at 5 years of 0.889, comparable to 2D-SWE and ELF. TE, ELF and 2D-SWE outperformed FibroTest, FIB4, NFS, Forns index and biopsy-verified fibrosis stage. Compared to patients with TE <10 kPa, the hazard ratios for liver-related events for TE 10-15 kPa was 8.1 (3.2-20.4), and 27.9 (13.8-56.8) for TE >15 kPa. Periods of excessive drinking during follow-up increased the risk of progressing to liver-related events, except for patients in the low-risk groups.

Conclusion: TE, ELF and 2D-SWE are highly accurate prognostic markers in patients with alcohol-related liver disease. Easy-to-use cut-offs can distinguish between substantially different risk profiles.

Lay Summary: Alcohol is the leading cause of death and illness due to liver disease. Years of excessive drinking cause the liver to accumulate scar tissue in some people. This scarring, liver fibrosis, may ultimately lead to cirrhosis, a condition that is associated with poor survival and poor quality of life. We undertook a study to develop biomarkers for predicting the risk of developing symptomatic liver disease in patients with early stages of alcohol-related liver disease. We found that several tests accurately predicted the risk of liver-related events such as ascites, esophageal varices and hepatic encephalopathy during an average follow-up of 4.1 years. Liver stiffness measurements by ultrasound elastography and the enhanced liver fibrosis test performed best. By using them, we were able to stratify patients into three groups with significantly different risks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2021.05.037DOI Listing
June 2021

Level of MFAP4 in ascites independently predicts 1-year transplant-free survival in patients with cirrhosis.

JHEP Rep 2021 Jun 29;3(3):100287. Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.

Background & Aims: Prognostic models of cirrhosis underestimate disease severity for patients with cirrhosis and ascites. Microfibrillar-associated protein 4 (MFAP4) is an extracellular matrix protein linked to hepatic neoangiogenesis and fibrogenesis. We investigated ascites MFAP4 as a predictor of transplant-free survival in patients with cirrhosis and ascites.

Methods: A dual-centre observational study of patients with cirrhosis and ascites recruited consecutively in relation to a paracentesis was carried out. Patients were followed up for 1 year, until death or liver transplantation (LTx). Ascites MFAP4 was tested with the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD-Na), CLIF Consortium Acute Decompensation (CLIF-C AD), and Child-Pugh score in Cox regression models.

Results: Ninety-three patients requiring paracentesis were included. Median ascites MFAP4 was 29.7 U/L [22.3-41.3], and MELD-Na was 19 [16-23]. A low MELD-Na score (<20) was observed in 49 patients (53%). During follow-up, 20 patients died (22%), and 6 received LTx (6%). High ascites MFAP4 (>29.7 U/L) was associated with 1-year transplant-free survival ( = 0.002). In Cox regression, ascites MFAP4 and MELD-Na independently predicted 1-year transplant-free survival (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.97,  = 0.03, and HR = 1.08,  = 0.01, respectively). Ascites MFAP4 and CLIF-C AD also predicted survival independently (HR = 0.96,  = 0.02, and HR = 1.05,  = 0.03, respectively), whereas only ascites MFAP4 did, controlling for the Child-Pugh score (HR = 0.97,  = 0.03, and HR = 1.18,  = 0.16, respectively). For patients with MELD-Na <20, ascites MFAP4 but not ascites protein predicted 1-year transplant-free survival (HR 0.91,  = 0.02, and HR = 0.94,  = 0.17, respectively).

Conclusions: Ascites MFAP4 predicts 1-year transplant-free survival in patients with cirrhosis and ascites. In patients with low MELD-Na scores, ascites MFAP4, but not total ascites protein, significantly predicted 1-year transplant-free survival.

Lay Summary: Patients with cirrhosis who have fluid in the abdomen, ascites, are at an increased risk of death and in need for liver transplantation. Our study identified patients with ascites and a poor prognosis by measuring microfibrillar associated protein 4 (MFAP4), a protein present in the abdominal fluid. Patients with low levels of the MFAP4 protein are at particularly increased risk of death or liver transplantation, suggesting that clinical care should be intensified in this group of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhepr.2021.100287DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8141937PMC
June 2021

Bacterial infections in patients with acute variceal bleeding in the era of antibiotic prophylaxis.

J Hepatol 2021 Aug 12;75(2):342-350. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

Gastroenterology Department, University Hospital of the Canary Islands, La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain.

Background & Aims: Antibiotic prophylaxis reduces the risk of infection and mortality in patients with cirrhosis and acute variceal bleeding (AVB). This study examines the incidence of, and risk factors for, bacterial infections during hospitalization in patients with AVB on antibiotic prophylaxis.

Methods: A post hoc analysis was performed using the database of an international, multicenter, observational study designed to examine the role of pre-emptive transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts in patients with cirrhosis and AVB. Data were collected on patients with cirrhosis hospitalized for AVB (n = 2,138) from a prospective cohort (October 2013-May 2015) at 34 referral centers, and a retrospective cohort (October 2011-September 2013) at 19 of these centers. The primary outcome was incidence of bacterial infection during hospitalization.

Results: A total of 1,656 patients out of 1,770 (93.6%) received antibiotic prophylaxis; third-generation cephalosporins (76.2%) and quinolones (19.0%) were used most frequently. Of the patients on antibiotic prophylaxis, 320 patients developed bacterial infection during hospitalization. Respiratory infection accounted for 43.6% of infections and for 49.7% of infected patients, and occurred early after admission (median 3 days, IQR 1-6). On multivariate analysis, respiratory infection was independently associated with Child-Pugh C (odds ratio [OR] 3.1; 95% CI 1.4-6.7), grade III-IV encephalopathy (OR 2.8; 95% CI 1.8-4.4), orotracheal intubation for endoscopy (OR 2.6; 95% CI 1.8-3.8), nasogastric tube placement (OR 1.7; 95% CI 1.2-2.4) or esophageal balloon tamponade (OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.2-4.9).

Conclusion: Bacterial infections develop in almost one-fifth of patients with AVB despite antibiotic prophylaxis. Respiratory infection is the most frequent, is an early event after admission, and is associated with advanced liver failure, severe hepatic encephalopathy and use of nasogastric tube, orotracheal intubation for endoscopy or esophageal balloon tamponade.

Lay Summary: Bacterial infections develop during hospitalization in close to 20% of patients with acute variceal bleeding despite antibiotic prophylaxis. Respiratory bacterial infections are the most frequent and occur early after admission. Respiratory infection is associated with advanced liver disease, severe hepatic encephalopathy and a need for a nasogastric tube, orotracheal intubation for endoscopy or esophageal balloon tamponade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2021.03.026DOI Listing
August 2021

[Early detection of alcohol-related liver disease].

Ugeskr Laeger 2021 04;183(14)

Alcohol-related liver disease is the most common cause of cirrhosis, and patients are diagnosed at late stages of disease, with high mortality and limited treatment options. However, we have plenty of opportunities to detect alcohol-related liver disease earlier, as most patients have prior contacts with the healthcare system, as discussed in this review. Growing evidence supports algorithms of routine liver blood tests as first-line risk stratification tools, to select which patients could be referred to secondary care for accurate diagnostic testing with liver stiffness measurements or the enhanced liver fibrosis test.
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April 2021

[Den store showstopper i forskningssamarbejder].

Ugeskr Laeger 2021 02;183(8)

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February 2021

Hepatobiliary phenotypes of adults with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.

Gut 2021 Feb 25. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Health Care Provider of the European Reference Network on Rare Liver Disorders (ERN RARE LIVER), Vienna, Austria.

Objective: Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is a common, potentially lethal inborn disorder caused by mutations in alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT). Homozygosity for the 'Pi*Z' variant of AAT (Pi*ZZ genotype) causes lung and liver disease, whereas heterozygous 'Pi*Z' carriage (Pi*MZ genotype) predisposes to gallstones and liver fibrosis. The clinical significance of the more common 'Pi*S' variant remains largely undefined and no robust data exist on the prevalence of liver tumours in AATD.

Design: Baseline phenotypes of AATD individuals and non-carriers were analysed in 482 380 participants in the UK Biobank. 1104 participants of a multinational cohort (586 Pi*ZZ, 239 Pi*SZ, 279 non-carriers) underwent a comprehensive clinical assessment. Associations were adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, diabetes and alcohol consumption.

Results: Among UK Biobank participants, Pi*ZZ individuals displayed the highest liver enzyme values, the highest occurrence of liver fibrosis/cirrhosis (adjusted OR (aOR)=21.7 (8.8-53.7)) and primary liver cancer (aOR=44.5 (10.8-183.6)). Subjects with Pi*MZ genotype had slightly elevated liver enzymes and moderately increased odds for liver fibrosis/cirrhosis (aOR=1.7 (1.2-2.2)) and cholelithiasis (aOR=1.3 (1.2-1.4)). Individuals with homozygous Pi*S mutation (Pi*SS genotype) harboured minimally elevated alanine aminotransferase values, but no other hepatobiliary abnormalities. Pi*SZ participants displayed higher liver enzymes, more frequent liver fibrosis/cirrhosis (aOR=3.1 (1.1-8.2)) and primary liver cancer (aOR=6.6 (1.6-26.9)). The higher fibrosis burden was confirmed in a multinational cohort. Male sex, age ≥50 years, obesity and the presence of diabetes were associated with significant liver fibrosis.

Conclusion: Our study defines the hepatobiliary phenotype of individuals with the most relevant AATD genotypes including their predisposition to liver tumours, thereby allowing evidence-based advice and individualised hepatological surveillance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-323729DOI Listing
February 2021

Two-dimensional shear wave elastography predicts survival in advanced chronic liver disease.

Gut 2021 Jan 21. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

Department of Radiology, Beaujon University Hospital, Clichy, France.

Objective: Liver stiffness measurement (LSM) is a tool used to screen for significant fibrosis and portal hypertension. The aim of this retrospective multicentre study was to develop an easy tool using LSM for clinical outcomes in advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD) patients.

Design: This international multicentre cohort study included a derivation ACLD patient cohort with valid two-dimensional shear wave elastography (2D-SWE) results. Clinical and laboratory parameters at baseline and during follow-up were recorded. LSM by transient elastography (TE) was also recorded if available. The primary outcome was overall mortality. The secondary outcome was the development of first/further decompensation.

Results: After screening 2148 patients (16 centres), 1827 patients (55 years, 62.4% men) were included in the 2D-SWE cohort, with median liver SWE (L-SWE) 11.8 kPa and a model for end stage liver disease (MELD) score of 8. Combination of MELD score and L-SWE predict independently of mortality (AUC 0.8). L-SWE cut-off at ≥20 kPa combined with MELD ≥10 could stratify the risk of mortality and first/further decompensation in ACLD patients. The 2-year mortality and decompensation rates were 36.9% and 61.8%, respectively, in the 305 (18.3%) high-risk patients (with L-SWE ≥20 kPa and MELD ≥10), while in the 944 (56.6%) low-risk patients, these were 1.1% and 3.5%, respectively. Importantly, this M10LS20 algorithm was validated by TE-based LSM and in an additional cohort of 119 patients with valid point shear SWE-LSM.

Conclusion: The M10LS20 algorithm allows risk stratification of patients with ACLD. Patients with L-SWE ≥20 kPa and MELD ≥10 should be followed closely and receive intensified care, while patients with low risk may be managed at longer intervals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-323419DOI Listing
January 2021

Assessment of hepatic steatosis by controlled attenuation parameter using the M and XL probes: an individual patient data meta-analysis.

Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 03 16;6(3):185-198. Epub 2021 Jan 16.

Hepatology Department, Saint-Antoine Hospital, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Centre de Recherche Saint-Antoine, Sorbonne University, Paris, France.

Background: Diagnostic tools for liver disease can now include estimation of the grade of hepatic steatosis (S0 to S3). Controlled attenuation parameter (CAP) is a non-invasive method for assessing hepatic steatosis that has become available for patients who are obese (FibroScan XL probe), but a consensus has not yet been reached regarding cutoffs and its diagnostic performance. We aimed to assess diagnostic properties and identify relevant covariates with use of an individual patient data meta-analysis.

Methods: We did an individual patient data meta-analysis, in which we searched PubMed and Web of Science for studies published from database inception until April 30, 2019. Studies reporting original biopsy-controlled data of CAP for non-invasive grading of steatosis were eligible. Probe recommendation was based on automated selection, manual assessment of skin-to-liver-capsule distance, and a body-mass index (BMI) criterion. Receiver operating characteristic methods and mixed models were used to assess diagnostic properties and covariates. Patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) were analysed separately because they are the predominant patient group when using the XL probe. This study is registered with PROSPERO, CRD42018099284.

Findings: 16 studies reported histology-controlled CAP including the XL probe, and individual data from 13 papers and 2346 patients were included. Patients with a mean age of 46·5 years (SD 14·5) were recruited from 20 centres in nine countries. 2283 patients had data for BMI; 673 (29%) were normal weight (BMI <25 kg/m), 530 (23%) were overweight (BMI ≥25 to <30 kg/m), and 1080 (47%) were obese (BMI ≥30 kg/m). 1277 (54%) patients had NAFLD, 474 (20%) had viral hepatitis, 285 (12%) had alcohol-associated liver disease, and 310 (13%) had other liver disease aetiologies. The XL probe was recommended in 1050 patients, 930 (89%) of whom had NAFLD; among the patients with NAFLD, the areas under the curve were 0·819 (95% CI 0·769-0·869) for S0 versus S1 to S3 and 0·754 (0·720-0·787) for S0 to S1 versus S2 to S3. CAP values were independently affected by aetiology, diabetes, BMI, aspartate aminotransferase, and sex. Optimal cutoffs differed substantially across aetiologies. Risk of bias according to QUADAS-2 was low.

Interpretation: CAP cutoffs varied according to cause, and can effectively recognise significant steatosis in patients with viral hepatitis. CAP cannot grade steatosis in patients with NAFLD adequately, but its value in a NAFLD screening setting needs to be studied, ideally with methods beyond the traditional histological reference standard.

Funding: The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and Echosens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(20)30357-5DOI Listing
March 2021

The Use of Rifaximin in Patients With Cirrhosis.

Hepatology 2021 Jan 9. Epub 2021 Jan 9.

Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBEReHD, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Rifaximin is an oral nonsystemic antibiotic with minimal gastrointestinal absorption and broad-spectrum antibacterial activity covering both gram-positive and gram-negative organisms. Rifaximin is currently used worldwide in patients with cirrhosis for preventing recurrent HE because its efficacy and safety have been proven by large randomized clinical trials. In the last decade, experimental and clinical evidence suggest that rifaximin could have other beneficial effects on the course of cirrhosis by modulating the gut microbiome and affecting the gut-liver axis, which in turn can interfere with major events of the pathophysiological cascade underlying decompensated cirrhosis, such as systemic inflammatory syndrome, portal hypertension, and bacterial infections. However, the use of rifaximin for prevention or treatment of other complications, including spontaneous bacterial peritonitis or other bacterial infections, is not accepted because evidence by clinical trials is still very weak. The present review deals in the first part with the potential impact of rifaximin on pathogenic mechanisms in liver diseases, whereas in the second part, its clinical effects are critically discussed. It clearly emerges that, because of its potential activity on multiple pathogenic events, the efficacy of rifaximin in the prevention or management of complications other than HE deserves to be investigated extensively. The results of double-blinded, adequately powered randomized clinical trials assessing the effect of rifaximin, alone or in combination with other drugs, on hard clinical endpoints, such as decompensation of cirrhosis, acute-on-chronic liver failure, and mortality, are therefore eagerly awaited.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.31708DOI Listing
January 2021

Refining the Baveno VI elastography criteria for the definition of compensated advanced chronic liver disease.

J Hepatol 2021 May 9;74(5):1109-1116. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

UCL Institute for Liver and Digestive Health, Royal Free Hospital and UCL, London, UK. Electronic address:

Background: The Baveno VI consensus proposed a dual liver stiffness (LS) by transient elastography threshold of <10 and >15 kPa for excluding and diagnosing compensated advanced chronic liver disease (cACLD) in the absence of other clinical signs. Herein, we aimed to validate these criteria in a real-world multicentre study.

Methods: We included 5,648 patients (mean age 51 ± 13 years, 53% males) from 10 European liver centres who had a liver biopsy and LS measurement within 6 months. We included patients with chronic hepatitis C (n = 2,913, 52%), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD, n = 1,073, 19%), alcohol-related liver disease (ALD, n = 946, 17%) or chronic hepatitis B (n = 716, 13%). cACLD was defined as fibrosis stage ≥F3.

Results: Overall, 3,606 (66%) and 987 (18%) patients had LS <10 and >15 kPa, respectively, while cACLD was histologically confirmed in 1,772 (31%) patients. The cut-offs of <10 and >15 kPa showed 75% sensitivity and 96% specificity to exclude and diagnose cACLD, respectively. Examining the ROC curve, a more optimal dual cut-off at <7 and >12 kPa, with 91% sensitivity and 92% specificity for excluding and diagnosing cACLD (AUC 0.87; 95% CI 0.86-0.88; p <0.001) was derived. Specifically, for ALD and NAFLD, a low cut-off of 8 kPa can be used (sensitivity=93%). For the unclassified patients, we derived a risk model based on common patient characteristics with better discrimination than LS alone (AUC 0.74 vs. 0.69; p <0.001).

Conclusions: Instead of the Baveno VI proposed <10 and >15 kPa dual cut-offs, we found that the <8 kPa (or <7 kPa for viral hepatitis) and >12 kPa dual cut-offs have better diagnostic accuracy in cACLD.

Lay Summary: The term compensated advanced chronic liver disease (cACLD) was introduced in 2015 to describe the spectrum of advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis in asymptomatic patients. It was also suggested that cACLD could be diagnosed or ruled out based on specific liver stiffness values, which can be non-invasively measured by transient elastography. Herein, we assessed the suggested cut-off values and identified alternative values that offered better overall accuracy for diagnosing or ruling out cACLD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2020.11.050DOI Listing
May 2021

Metabolic and Genetic Risk Factors Are the Strongest Predictors of Severity of Alcohol-Related Liver Fibrosis.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020 Dec 4. Epub 2020 Dec 4.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark; Institute of Clinical Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.

Background & Aims: Individual risk for developing alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) varies greatly. We hypothesized that metabolic risk factors and genetic polymorphisms predict severity of ALD.

Methods: Biopsy-controlled, cross-sectional study in patients with a history of excessive drinking. We measured the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), plasma triglycerides, high- and low-density lipoproteins (HDL, LDL), and total cholesterol. Moreover, we genotyped four single nucleotide polymorphisms in PNPLA3 (rs738409C>G), TM6SF2 (rs58542926C>T), MBOAT7 (rs641738C>T), and HSD17B13 (rs72613567T>TA). We assessed predictors of higher fibrosis stage using multivariable ordered logistic regression.

Results: Of 325 included patients, 25% had severe fibrosis or cirrhosis and 59% had HOMA-IR ≥2.5. HOMA-IR increased for each fibrosis stage, while there was a similar decrease in LDL and total cholesterol. Individuals with risk variant PNPLA3 rs738409-G or TM6SF2 rs58542926-T had higher fibrosis stage. In multivariable regression, HOMA-IR ≥2.5 (OR = 3.04, 95% CI 1.90-4.87), LDL <2.60 mmol/L (OR = 2.05, 95% CI 1.33-3.16), TM6SF2 rs58542926-T (OR = 1.99, 95% CI 1.17-3.37), age above 50 years (OR = 1.66, 95% CI 1.03-2.70), and PNPLA3 rs738409-G (OR = 1.54, 95% CI 1.11-2.12) independently predicted higher fibrosis stage. Independent predictors of hepatic inflammatory activity were HOMA-IR, active drinking, age, and PNPLA3 risk variant. Active drinking, elevated triglycerides, and PNPLA3 risk variant predicted steatosis.

Conclusions: Insulin resistance is the strongest predictor of liver fibrosis stage and hepatic inflammation in patients with alcohol-related liver disease. Genetic susceptibility further aggravates this risk. These data highlight the clinical value of detailed metabolic and genetic profiling of patients with excessive alcohol use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2020.11.038DOI Listing
December 2020

Utilizing the gut microbiome in decompensated cirrhosis and acute-on-chronic liver failure.

Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 03 30;18(3):167-180. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.

The human gut microbiome has emerged as a major player in human health and disease. The liver, as the first organ to encounter microbial products that cross the gut epithelial barrier, is affected by the gut microbiome in many ways. Thus, the gut microbiome might play a major part in the development of liver diseases. The common end stage of liver disease is decompensated cirrhosis and the further development towards acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). These conditions have high short-term mortality. There is evidence that translocation of components of the gut microbiota, facilitated by different pathogenic mechanisms such as increased gut epithelial permeability and portal hypertension, is an important driver of decompensation by induction of systemic inflammation, and thereby also ACLF. Elucidating the role of the gut microbiome in the aetiology of decompensated cirrhosis and ACLF deserves further investigation and improvement; and might be the basis for development of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. In this Review, we focus on the possible pathogenic, diagnostic and therapeutic role of the gut microbiome in decompensation of cirrhosis and progression to ACLF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41575-020-00376-3DOI Listing
March 2021

Collagen proportionate area predicts clinical outcomes in patients with alcohol-related liver disease.

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2020 12 12;52(11-12):1728-1739. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

UCL Institute for Liver and Digestive Health, Royal Free Hospital and UCL, London, UK.

Background: No prognostic tools are established for alcohol-related liver disease (ALD). Collagen proportionate area (CPA) measurement is a technique that quantifies fibrous tissue in liver biopsies using digital image analysis.

Aim: To assess the predictive value of CPA on hepatic decompensation and liver-related mortality in ALD METHODS: In a multicentre cohort study, we included 386 patients with biopsy-verified ALD and with long-term follow-up. In the development cohort of 276 patients, we assessed the predictors of hepatic decompensation and liver-related death in standard and competing risk multivariable Cox regression analyses. The results were validated in an independent prospective cohort of 110 patients, where CPA was also correlated with liver stiffness measurement (LSM).

Results: In the development cohort, 231 (84%) patients had early/compensated ALD (non-cirrhotic or compensated cirrhosis) and 45 (16%) had decompensated cirrhosis. In the validation cohort, all patients had early/compensated ALD. Independent predictors of liver-related mortality were higher CPA values (HR = 1.04, 95% CI 1.02-1.04) and advanced fibrosis (HR = 2.80, 95% CI 1.29-6.05) with similar results in standard and competing risk multivariable Cox regression analysis. In early/compensated ALD, CPA was the only independent predictor of hepatic decompensation and liver-related death (HR = 1.08, 95% CI 1.06-1.11). In the prospective cohort, we validated that CPA independently predicts hepatic decompensation in early/compensated ALD. The predictive power of CPA and LSM was equally strong.

Conclusions: CPA predicts liver-related mortality in ALD and hepatic decompensation and/or liver-related death in early/compensated ALD. Traditional histological assessment may benefit from the addition of CPA to the evaluation of ALD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/apt.16111DOI Listing
December 2020

Alcoholic liver disease: A registry view on comorbidities and disease prediction.

PLoS Comput Biol 2020 09 22;16(9):e1008244. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 2200, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Alcoholic-related liver disease (ALD) is the cause of more than half of all liver-related deaths. Sustained excess drinking causes fatty liver and alcohol-related steatohepatitis, which may progress to alcoholic liver fibrosis (ALF) and eventually to alcohol-related liver cirrhosis (ALC). Unfortunately, it is difficult to identify patients with early-stage ALD, as these are largely asymptomatic. Consequently, the majority of ALD patients are only diagnosed by the time ALD has reached decompensated cirrhosis, a symptomatic phase marked by the development of complications as bleeding and ascites. The main goal of this study is to discover relevant upstream diagnoses helping to understand the development of ALD, and to highlight meaningful downstream diagnoses that represent its progression to liver failure. Here, we use data from the Danish health registries covering the entire population of Denmark during nineteen years (1996-2014), to examine if it is possible to identify patients likely to develop ALF or ALC based on their past medical history. To this end, we explore a knowledge discovery approach by using high-dimensional statistical and machine learning techniques to extract and analyze data from the Danish National Patient Registry. Consistent with the late diagnoses of ALD, we find that ALC is the most common form of ALD in the registry data and that ALC patients have a strong over-representation of diagnoses associated with liver dysfunction. By contrast, we identify a small number of patients diagnosed with ALF who appear to be much less sick than those with ALC. We perform a matched case-control study using the group of patients with ALC as cases and their matched patients with non-ALD as controls. Machine learning models (SVM, RF, LightGBM and NaiveBayes) trained and tested on the set of ALC patients achieve a high performance for data classification (AUC = 0.89). When testing the same trained models on the small set of ALF patients, their performance unsurprisingly drops a lot (AUC = 0.67 for NaiveBayes). The statistical and machine learning results underscore small groups of upstream and downstream comorbidities that accurately detect ALC patients and show promise in prediction of ALF. Some of these groups are conditions either caused by alcohol or caused by malnutrition associated with alcohol-overuse. Others are comorbidities either related to trauma and life-style or to complications to cirrhosis, such as oesophageal varices. Our findings highlight the potential of this approach to uncover knowledge in registry data related to ALD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008244DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7531835PMC
September 2020

Endpoints and design of clinical trials in patients with decompensated cirrhosis: Position paper of the LiverHope Consortium.

J Hepatol 2021 Jan 5;74(1):200-219. Epub 2020 Sep 5.

Liver Unit, Hospital Clínic De Barcelona, Barcelona, School of Medicine and Health Sciences University of Barcelona, Spain; Institut d´Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi I Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBEReHD), Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:

Management of decompensated cirrhosis is currently geared towards the treatment of complications once they occur. To date there is no established disease-modifying therapy aimed at halting progression of the disease and preventing the development of complications in patients with decompensated cirrhosis. The design of clinical trials to investigate new therapies for patients with decompensated cirrhosis is complex. The population of patients with decompensated cirrhosis is heterogeneous (i.e., different etiologies, comorbidities and disease severity), leading to the inclusion of diverse populations in clinical trials. In addition, primary endpoints selected for trials that include patients with decompensated cirrhosis are not homogeneous and at times may not be appropriate. This leads to difficulties in comparing results obtained from different trials. Against this background, the LiverHope Consortium organized a meeting of experts, the goal of which was to develop recommendations for the design of clinical trials and to define appropriate endpoints, both for trials aimed at modifying the natural history and preventing progression of decompensated cirrhosis, as well as for trials aimed at managing the individual complications of cirrhosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2020.08.009DOI Listing
January 2021

Clinical features and evolution of bacterial infection-related acute-on-chronic liver failure.

J Hepatol 2021 Feb 8;74(2):330-339. Epub 2020 Aug 8.

Department of Internal Medicine IV, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany; Department of Medicine III, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Aachen, Germany.

Background & Aims: Bacterial infections can trigger the development of organ failure(s) and acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). Geographic variations in bacteriology and clinical practice could lead to worldwide differences in ACLF epidemiology, phenotypes and associated outcomes. Herein, we aimed to evaluate regional differences in bacterial infection-related ACLF in patients with cirrhosis admitted to hospital.

Methods: This post hoc analysis included 1,175 patients with decompensated cirrhosis (with bacterial infection on admission or nosocomial infection) from 6 geographic regions worldwide. Clinical, laboratory and microbiological data were collected from the diagnosis of infection. Patients were followed-up for organ failure(s) and ACLF development according to the EASL-CLIF criteria from enrolment to discharge/death.

Results: A total of 333 patients (28%) had ACLF at diagnosis of infection, while 230 patients developed ACLF after diagnosis of infection, resulting in an overall rate of bacterial infection related-ACLF of 48%, with rates differing amongst different geographic regions (38% in Southern Europe vs. 75% in the Indian subcontinent). Bacterial infection related-ACLF more frequently developed in younger patients (55 ± 13 vs. 58 ± 14 years), males (73% vs. 62%), patients with alcohol-related cirrhosis (59% vs. 45%) and those with a higher baseline MELD score (25 ± 11 vs. 16 ± 5) (all p <0.001). Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, pneumonia or infections caused by extensively drug resistant (XDR) bacteria were more frequently associated with ACLF development. More patients with ACLF had a positive quick sequential organ failure assessment score and septic shock, resulting in a lower infection resolution rate (all p <0.001).

Conclusions: Bacterial infections, especially with XDR organisms, are associated with the highest risk of ACLF development, accounting for almost half of cases globally. Geographic differences result in variable epidemiology and clinical outcomes.

Lay Summary: Bacterial infections can trigger a sudden deterioration in an otherwise stable cirrhotic patient, a condition known as acute-on-chronic liver failure or ACLF. This study has found that the development of ACLF following bacterial infection occurs most commonly in the Indian subcontinent and less so in Southern Europe. The common infections that can trigger ACLF include infection of the abdominal fluid, known as spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, pneumonia and by bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics. Patients who develop ACLF following a bacterial infection have high death rates and are frequently unable to clear the infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2020.07.046DOI Listing
February 2021

[Open access-publicering og Plan Speed].

Ugeskr Laeger 2020 07;182(28)

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July 2020

Remote ischemic conditioning in active ulcerative colitis: An explorative randomized clinical trial.

Sci Rep 2020 06 12;10(1):9537. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Department of Medical Gastroenterology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.

Remote ischemic conditioning (RIC) by repetitive brief periods of limb ischemia and reperfusion renders organs more resistant to ischemic injury. The protection is partly through down-regulation of the inflammatory response. Our aim was to investigate the clinical and anti-inflammatory effects of RIC in patients with active ulcerative colitis (UC). We included 22 patients with active UC in this explorative, randomized, sham-controlled clinical trial. The patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to RIC (induced in the arm through four cycles of 5-min inflation and 5-min deflation of a blood-pressure cuff) or sham (incomplete inflation of the blood-pressure cuff) once daily for 10 days. Outcome variables were measured at baseline and on day 11. When compared with sham, RIC did not affect inflammation in the UC patients measured by fecal calprotectin, plasma C-reactive protein, Mayo Score, Mayo Endoscopic Subscore, Nancy Histological Index or inflammatory cytokines involved in UC and RIC. The mRNA and miRNA expression profiles in the UC patients were measured by RNA sequencing and multiplexed hybridization, respectively, but were not significantly affected by RIC. We used the Langendorff heart model to assess activation of the organ protective mechanism induced by RIC, but could not confirm activation of the organ protective mechanism in the UC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-65692-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7293253PMC
June 2020

Liver Phenotypes of European Adults Heterozygous or Homozygous for Pi∗Z Variant of AAT (Pi∗MZ vs Pi∗ZZ genotype) and Noncarriers.

Gastroenterology 2020 08 4;159(2):534-548.e11. Epub 2020 May 4.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland.

Background & Aims: Homozygosity for the Pi∗Z variant of the gene that encodes the alpha-1 antitrypsin peptide (AAT), called the Pi∗ZZ genotype, causes a liver and lung disease called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Heterozygosity (the Pi∗MZ genotype) is a risk factor for cirrhosis in individuals with liver disease. Up to 4% of Europeans have the Pi∗MZ genotype; we compared features of adults with and without Pi∗MZ genotype among persons without preexisting liver disease.

Methods: We analyzed data from the European Alpha-1 Liver Cohort, from 419 adults with the Pi∗MZ genotype, 309 adults with the Pi∗ZZ genotype, and 284 individuals without the variant (noncarriers). All underwent a comprehensive evaluation; liver stiffness measurements (LSMs) were made by transient elastography. Liver biopsies were analyzed to define histologic and biochemical features associated with the Pi∗Z variant. Levels of serum transaminases were retrieved from 444,642 participants, available in the United Kingdom biobank.

Results: In the UK biobank database, levels of serum transaminases were increased in subjects with the Pi∗MZ genotype compared with noncarriers. In the Alpha-1 Liver Cohort, adults with Pi∗MZ had lower levels of gamma-glutamyl transferase in serum and lower LSMs than adults with the Pi∗ZZ variant, but these were higher than in noncarriers. Ten percent of subjects with the Pi∗MZ genotype vs 4% of noncarriers had LSMs of 7.1 kPa or more (adjusted odds ratio, 4.8; 95% confidence interval, 2.0-11.8). Obesity and diabetes were the most important factors associated with LSMs ≥7.1 kPa in subjects with the Pi∗MZ genotype. AAT inclusions were detected in liver biopsies of 63% of subjects with the Pi∗MZ genotype, vs 97% of subjects with the Pi∗ZZ genotype, and increased with liver fibrosis stages. Subjects with the Pi∗MZ genotype did not have increased hepatic levels of AAT, whereas levels of insoluble AAT varied among individuals.

Conclusions: Adults with the Pi∗MZ genotype have lower levels of serum transaminases, fewer AAT inclusions in liver, and lower liver stiffness than adults with the Pi∗ZZ genotype, but higher than adults without the Pi∗Z variant. These findings should help determine risk of subjects with the Pi∗MZ genotype and aid in counseling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.04.058DOI Listing
August 2020

Rebleeding and mortality risk are increased by ACLF but reduced by pre-emptive TIPS.

J Hepatol 2020 11 24;73(5):1082-1091. Epub 2020 Apr 24.

Unit of Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy, Arcispedale Santa Maria Nuova-IRCCS, Reggio Emilia, Italy.

Background & Aims: The relationship between acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) and acute variceal bleeding (AVB) is poorly understood. Specifically, the prevalence and prognosis of ACLF in the context of AVB is unclear, while the role of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) in the management in patients with ACLF has not been described to date.

Methods: A multicenter, international, observational study was conducted in 2,138 patients from 34 centers between 2011 and 2015. ACLF was defined and graded according to the EASL-CLIF consortium definition. Placement of pre-emptive TIPS (pTIPS) was based on individual center policy. Patients were followed-up for 1 year, until death or liver transplantation. Cox regression and competing risk models (Gray's test) were used to identify independent predictors of rebleeding or mortality.

Results: At admission, 380/2,138 (17.8%) patients had ACLF according to EASL-CLIF criteria (grade 1: 38.7%; grade 2: 39.2%; grade 3: 22.1%). The 42-day rebleeding (19% vs. 10%; p <0.001) and mortality (47% vs. 10%; p <0.001) rates were higher in patients with ACLF and increased with ACLF grades. Of note, the presence of ACLF was independently associated with rebleeding and mortality. pTIPS placement improved survival in patients with ACLF at 42 days and 1 year. This effect was also observed in propensity score matching analysis of 66 patients with ACLF, of whom 44 received pTIPs and 22 did not.

Conclusions: This large multicenter international real-life study identified ACLF at admission as an independent predictor of rebleeding and mortality in patients with AVB. Moreover, pTIPS was associated with improved survival in patients with ACLF and AVB.

Lay Summary: Acute variceal bleeding is a deadly complication of liver cirrhosis that results from severe portal hypertension. This study demonstrates that the presence of acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) is the strongest predictor of mortality in patients with acute variceal bleeding. Importantly, patients with ACLF and acute variceal (re)bleeding benefit from pre-emptive (early) placement of a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2020.04.024DOI Listing
November 2020

Prediction of liver fibrosis severity in alcoholic liver disease by human microfibrillar-associated protein 4.

Liver Int 2020 07 10;40(7):1701-1712. Epub 2020 May 10.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Odense University Hospital, Odense C, Denmark.

Background: Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a public health concern that is the cause of half of all cirrhosis-related deaths. Early detection of fibrosis, ideally in the precirrhotic stage, is a key strategy for improving ALD outcomes and for preventing progression to cirrhosis. Previous studies identified the blood-borne marker human microfibrillar-associated protein 4 (MFAP4) as a biomarker for detection of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related fibrosis.

Aim: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of MFAP4 to detect ALD-induced fibrosis.

Method: We performed a prospective, liver biopsy-controlled study involving 266 patients with prior or current alcohol overuse. Patients were split into a training and a validation cohort.

Results: MFAP4 was present in fibrotic hepatic tissue and serum MFAP4 levels increased with fibrosis grade. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) for detection of cirrhosis was 0.91 (95% CI 0.85-0.96) in the training cohort and 0.91 (95% CI 0.79-1.00) in the validation cohort. For detection of advanced fibrosis, the AUROC was 0.88 (95% CI 0.81-0.94) in the training cohort and 0.92 (95% CI 0.83-1.00) in the validation cohort. The diagnostic accuracy did not differ between MFAP4 and the enhanced liver fibrosis (ELF) test or transient elastography (TE) in an intention-to-diagnose analysis. MFAP4 did not predict hepatic decompensation in a time-to-decompensation analysis in a subgroup of patients with cirrhosis.

Conclusion: MFAP4 is a novel biomarker that can detect ALD-related fibrosis with high accuracy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14491DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7383987PMC
July 2020

2D shear wave liver elastography by Aixplorer to detect portal hypertension in cirrhosis: An individual patient data meta-analysis.

Liver Int 2020 06 8;40(6):1435-1446. Epub 2020 Apr 8.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and OPEN Patient Data Explorative Network, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.

Background & Aims: Liver stiffness measured with 2-dimensional shear wave elastography by Supersonic Imagine (2DSWE-SSI) is well-established for fibrosis diagnostics, but non-conclusive for portal hypertension.

Methods: We performed an individual patient data meta-analysis of 2DSWE-SSI to identify clinically significant portal hypertension (CSPH), severe portal hypertension and large varices in cirrhosis patients, using hepatic venous pressure gradient and upper endoscopy as reference. We used meta-analytical integration of diagnostic accuracies with optimized rule-out (sensitivity-90%) and rule-in (specificity-90%) cut-offs.

Results: Five studies from seven centres shared data on 519 patients. After exclusion, we included 328 patients. Eighty-nine (27%) were compensated and 286 (87%) had CSPH. 2DSWE-SSI < 14 kPa ruled out CSPH with a summary AUROC (sROC), sensitivity and specificity of 0.88, 91% and 37%, and correctly classified 85% of patients, with minimal between-study heterogeneity. The false negative rate was 60%, of which decompensated patients accounted for 78%. 2DSWE-SSI ≥ 32 kPa ruled in CSPH with sROC, sensitivity, specificity and correct classifications of 0.83, 47%, 89% and 55%. In a subgroup analysis, the 14 kPa cut-off showed consistent sensitivity and higher specificity for patients with compensated cirrhosis, without ascites, viral aetiology or BMI < 25 kg/m . 2DSWE-SSI ruled out severe portal hypertension and large varices with fewer correctly classified and lower sROC, and with minimal benefit for ruling in.

Conclusion: Liver stiffness using 2-dimensional shear wave elastography below 14 kPa may be used to rule out clinically significant portal hypertension in cirrhosis patients, but this would need validation in populations of compensated liver disease. 2DSWE-SSI cannot predict varices needing treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14439DOI Listing
June 2020

Transcriptional Dynamics of Hepatic Sinusoid-Associated Cells After Liver Injury.

Hepatology 2020 12 20;72(6):2119-2133. Epub 2020 Oct 20.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Odense M, Denmark.

Background And Aims: Hepatic sinusoidal cells are known actors in the fibrogenic response to injury. Activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, and Kupffer cells are responsible for sinusoidal capillarization and perisinusoidal matrix deposition, impairing vascular exchange and heightening the risk of advanced fibrosis. While the overall pathogenesis is well understood, functional relations between cellular transitions during fibrogenesis are only beginning to be resolved. At single-cell resolution, we here explored the heterogeneity of individual cell types and dissected their transitions and crosstalk during fibrogenesis.

Approach And Results: We applied single-cell transcriptomics to map the heterogeneity of sinusoid-associated cells in healthy and injured livers and reconstructed the single-lineage HSC trajectory from pericyte to myofibroblast. Stratifying each sinusoidal cell population by activation state, we projected shifts in sinusoidal communication upon injury. Weighted gene correlation network analysis of the HSC trajectory led to the identification of core genes whose expression proved highly predictive of advanced fibrosis in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Among the core members of the injury-repressed gene module, we identified plasmalemma vesicle-associated protein (PLVAP) as a protein amply expressed by mouse and human HSCs. PLVAP expression was suppressed in activated HSCs upon injury and may hence define hitherto unknown roles for HSCs in the regulation of microcirculatory exchange and its breakdown in chronic liver disease.

Conclusions: Our study offers a single-cell resolved account of drug-induced injury of the mammalian liver and identifies key genes that may serve important roles in sinusoidal integrity and as markers of advanced fibrosis in human NASH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.31215DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7820956PMC
December 2020

Spleen stiffness to liver stiffness ratio significantly differs between ALD and HCV and predicts disease-specific complications.

JHEP Rep 2019 Aug 21;1(2):99-106. Epub 2019 Jun 21.

Department of Medicine and Center for Alcohol Research, Salem Medical Center, University of Heidelberg, Zeppelinstraße 11-33, 69121 Heidelberg, Germany.

Background & Aims: Both liver stiffness (LS) and spleen stiffness (SS) are widely used to non-invasively assess liver fibrosis and portal hypertension, respectively. We aimed to identify the impact of disease etiology, namely the localization of inflammation (portal lobular), on the SS/LS ratio.

Methods: In this multicenter study, LS and SS were prospectively assessed in 411 patients with alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) using FibroScan® (Echosens, Paris); changes in these parameters were also studied in response to treatment (alcohol withdrawal, HCV therapy). LS and spleen length (SL) were further analyzed in a retrospective cohort of 449 patients with long-term data on decompensation/death.

Results: Both, SS and SL were significantly higher in HCV compared to ALD (42.0 32.6 kPa, 0.0001, 15.6 11.9 cm, 0.0001) despite a lower mean LS in HCV. Consequently, the SS to LS ratio and the SL to LS ratio were significantly higher in HCV (3.8 1.72 and 1.46 0.86, 0.0001) through all fibrosis stages. Notably, SL linearly increased with SS and the relation between SS and SL was identical in HCV and ALD. In contrast, livers were much larger in ALD at comparable LS. After treatment, LS significantly decreased in both diseases without significant changes to the SS/LS ratio. In the prognostic cohort, patients with ALD had higher LS values (30.5 21.3 kPa) and predominantly presented with jaundice (65.2%); liver failure was the major cause of death (0.01). In contrast, in HCV, spleens were larger (17.6 12.1 cm) while variceal bleeding was the major cause of decompensation (73.2%) and death (0.001).

Conclusion: Both SS/LS and SL/LS ratios are significantly higher in patients with portal HCV compared to lobular ALD. Thus, combined LS and SS or SL measurements provide additional information about disease etiology and disease-specific complications.

Lay Summary: Herein, we show that patients with hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) have higher spleen stiffness and portal pressure than patients with alcohol-related liver disease (ALD), within the same fibrosis stage and matched to liver stiffness. Thus, the spleen stiffness to liver stiffness ratio is significantly higher in patients with HCV compared to ALD. Additionally, patients with HCV more commonly progress to portal hypertension-related complications ( variceal bleeding), while patients with ALD more commonly progress to liver failure ( jaundice). The spleen stiffness to liver stiffness ratio is a useful tool to confirm disease etiology and predict disease-specific complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhepr.2019.05.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7001583PMC
August 2019

Describing the fecal metabolome in cryogenically collected samples from healthy participants.

Sci Rep 2020 01 21;10(1):885. Epub 2020 Jan 21.

Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, Gentofte, Denmark.

The chemical composition of feces plays an important role in human metabolism. Metabolomics and lipidomics are valuable tools for screening the metabolite composition in feces. Here we set out to describe fecal metabolite composition in healthy participants in frozen stools. Frozen stool samples were collected from 10 healthy volunteers and cryogenically drilled in four areas along the specimen. Polar metabolites were analyzed using derivatization followed by two-dimensional gas chromatography and time of flight mass spectrometry. Lipids were detected using ultra high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadruple time-of-flight mass spectrometry. 2326 metabolic features were detected. Out of a total of 298 metabolites that were annotated we report here 185 that showed a technical variation of x < 30%. These metabolites included amino acids, fatty acid derivatives, carboxylic acids and phenolic compounds. Lipids predominantly belonged to the groups of diacylglycerols, triacylglycerols and ceramides. Metabolites varied between sampling areas, some were broadly homogeneous, others varied 80%. A LASSO-computed network using metabolites present in all areas showed two main clusters describing the system, DAG lipids and phenyllactic acid. In feces from healthy participants, the main groups detected were phenolic compounds, ceramides, diacylglycerols and triacylglycerols.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-57888-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6972823PMC
January 2020
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