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Lysosomal Acid Lipase: Can it be a New Non-Invasive Serum Biomarker of Cryptogenic Liver Fibrosis and Cirrhosis?

Marta Gravito-Soares, Elisa Gravito-Soares, Dario Gomes, Luis Tome


Introduction and aim. The association between lysosomal acid lipase (LAL) activity and liver steatosis or fibrosis is poorly studied. The aim of our study was to determine the predictive power of LAL for cryptogenic liver steatosis and cryptogenic significant fibrosis/ cirrhosis. Material and methods. Cross-sectional observational study of 101 adult patients with unexplained elevated liver enzymes/hepatomegaly with or without dyslipidemia submitted to the determination of LAL activity and LIPA gene (E8SJMC. 894G→A) mutation. Seventy-one patients underwent liver biopsy or FibroScan®. Patients with an identifiable liver dysfunction cause and well-stablished NAFLD/NASH risk factors were excluded. Predictors for liver steatosis, significant fibrosis (≥ F2) or cirrhosis (F4) were evaluated. Results. Liver steatosis and fibrosis were mainly assessed by liver biopsy (74.6%; n = 53). Steatosis was present in 62.0% (n = 44), significant fibrosis in 47.9% (n = 34) and cirrhosis in 39.4% (n = 28). The median LAL was 0.36 (0.21-0.46)nmol/spot/h (vs. 0.29 (0.20-0.47); p = 0.558) for liver steatosis, 0.22 (0.11-0.29) nmol/spot/h (vs. 0.40 (0.34-0.51); p < 0.001) for significant fibrosis and 0.21 (0.11-0.27) nmol/spot/h (vs. 0.40 (0.32-0.52); p < 0.001) for cirrhosis. No LIPA gene mutations were found. LAL activity was the strongest predictor of significant fibrosis (AUROC: 0.833; p < 0.001) with a cut-off of 0.265 (sensitivity: 85.9%; specificity: 75.0%) and cirrhosis (AUROC: 0.859; p < 0.001) with a cut-off of 0.235 (sensitivity: 86.2%; specificity: 75.0%), being higher than FIB4, GUCI or APRI. However, LAL activity was not associated with liver steatosis (AUROC: 0.536; p = 0.558). Conclusion. LAL activity can be considered a non-invasive new marker of cryptogenic liver fibrosis with higher accuracy than other known biomarkers. LAL activity < 0.265 nmol/spot/h was strongly associated with cryptogenic significant fibrosis and < 0.235 nmol/spot/h with cryptogenic cirrhosis. LAL activity was not associated with cryptogenic liver steatosis.

Key words. LAL, Chronic liver disease, Fibrosis degree, E8SJM mutation, Serum biomarkers

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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