Non-invasive assessment of NAFLD as systemic disease-A machine learning perspective.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND & AIMS:Current non-invasive scores for the assessment of severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and identification of patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) have insufficient performance to be included in clinical routine. In the current study, we developed a novel machine learning approach to overcome the caveats of existing approaches. METHODS:Non-invasive parameters were selected by an ensemble feature selection (EFS) from a retrospectively collected training cohort of 164 obese individuals (age: 43.5±10.3y; BMI: 54.1±10.1kg/m2) to develop a model able to predict the histological assessed NAFLD activity score (NAS). The model was evaluated in an independent validation cohort (122 patients, age: 45.2±11.75y, BMI: 50.8±8.61kg/m2). RESULTS:EFS identified age, ?GT, HbA1c, adiponectin, and M30 as being highly associated with NAFLD. The model reached a Spearman correlation coefficient with the NAS of 0.46 in the training cohort and was able to differentiate between NAFL (NAS?4) and NASH (NAS>4) with an AUC of 0.73. In the independent validation cohort, an AUC of 0.7 was achieved for this separation. We further analyzed the potential of the new model for disease monitoring in an obese cohort of 38 patients under lifestyle intervention for one year. While all patients lost weight under intervention, increasing scores were observed in 15 patients. Increasing scores were associated with significantly lower absolute weight loss, lower reduction of waist circumference and basal metabolic rate. CONCLUSIONS:A newly developed model (http://CHek.heiderlab.de) can predict presence or absence of NASH with reasonable performance. The new score could be used to detect NASH and monitor disease progression or therapy response to weight loss interventions.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIM:The progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is believed to be the driver for future development of fibrosis and cirrhosis. Nevertheless, there remains a clear deficit in non-invasive methods for the diagnosis of NASH. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence of portal lymphadenopathy (PL) in biopsy- proven NAFLD patients and to determine whether PL correlates with NAFLD stage and severity. METHODS:A retrospective study included biopsy-proven NAFLD patients with up to date (within one year) abdominal imaging by computed tomography (CT) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Patients were clustered into three groups based on their NAFLD Activity Score (NAS): NAS1-2 (mild), NAS3-4 (moderate) and NAS?5 (advanced). We Assessed for association between PL and other clinical and laboratory findings with NAS, NAS components and fibrosis. RESULTS:Seventy-five patients with NAFLD and no other competing etiologies for liver diseases or PL were included. The mean age was 50.7±14.84 years with male predominance (N = 47, 62.7%). Twenty-five (33.3%), 37 (49.3%) and 13 (17.3%) patients had mild, moderate and advanced NAS, respectively. PL significantly correlated with advanced NAS ? 5 (Fisher's (F) 9.5, P = 0.009). Correlation was driven mainly by a link to hepatocytes ballooning (F of 5.9, P = 0.043). In addition, PL significantly correlated with portal inflammation (F 4.29, P = 0.038). As for hepatic fibrosis, the F test wasn't significant, though spearman's coefficient (SC) was significant (0.277, P = 0.012). On multivariate analysis, PL was identified as a sole predictor of advanced NAS score (Odds ratio of 2.68, P = 0.002). Incorporation of PL into noninvasive fibrosis scores improved their diagnostic yield. CONCLUSION:PL predicts severity of NAFLD. Its presence may serve as a novel radiological marker for NAFLD/NASH differentiation and disease progression.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a subtype of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) that can lead to fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma, is characterized by hepatic inflammation. Despite evolving therapies aimed to ameliorate inflammation in NASH, the transcriptional changes that lead to inflammation progression in NAFLD remain poorly understood. The aim of this pilot study was to define transcriptional changes in early, non-fibrotic NAFLD using two independent biopsy-proven NAFLD cohorts. METHODS:We extracted RNA from liver tissue of 40 patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD based on NAFLD Activity Score (NAS) (23 patients with NAS ?3, 17 with NAS ?5) and 21 healthy controls, and we compared changes in expression of 594 genes involved in innate immune function. Using plasma from an independent cohort of 67 patients with NAFLD and 15 healthy controls, we validated the gene changes observed using a multiplex protein assay. RESULTS:Compared to healthy controls, NAFLD patients with NAS ?5 had differential expression of 211 genes, while those with NAS ?3 had differential expression of only 14 genes. Notably, osteopontin (SPP1) (3.74-fold in NAS ?3, 8.28-fold in NAS ?5) and CXCL10 (2.27-fold in NAS ?3, 8.28-fold in NAS ?5) gene expression were significantly upregulated with histologic progression of NAFLD. Plasma osteopontin (SPP1) and CXCL10 are significantly increased in the presence of NAFLD, regardless of histologic grade. In addition, the plasma levels of these two proteins distinguish clearly between the presence or absence of NAFLD (AUC>0.90). CONCLUSIONS:Osteopontin (SPP1) and CXCL10 are upregulated early in non-fibrotic NAFLD and may serve as valuable non-invasive biomarkers.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:In patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), liver biopsy is the gold standard to detect non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and stage liver fibrosis. We aimed to identify differentially expressed mRNAs and non-coding RNAs in serum samples of biopsy-diagnosed mild and severe NAFLD patients with respect to controls and to each other. METHODS:We first performed a whole transcriptome analysis through microarray (n = 12: four Control: CTRL; four mild NAFLD: NAS ? 4 F0; four severe NAFLD NAS ? 5 F3), followed by validation of selected transcripts through real-time PCRs in an independent internal cohort of 88 subjects (63 NAFLD, 25 CTRL) and in an external cohort of 50 NAFLD patients. A similar analysis was also performed on liver biopsies and HepG2 cells exposed to oleate:palmitate or only palmitate (cellular model of NAFL/NASH) at intracellular/extracellular levels. Transcript correlation with histological/clinical data was also analysed. RESULTS:We identified several differentially expressed coding/non-coding RNAs in each group of the study cohort. We validated the up-regulation of UBE2V1, BNIP3L mRNAs, RP11-128N14.5 lncRNA, TGFB2/TGFB2-OT1 coding/lncRNA in patients with NAS ? 5 (vs NAS ? 4) and the up-regulation of HBA2 mRNA, TGFB2/TGFB2-OT1 coding/lncRNA in patients with Fibrosis stages = 3-4 (vs F = 0-2). In in vitro models: UBE2V1, RP11-128N14.5 and TGFB2/TGFB2-OT1 had an increasing expression trend ranging from CTRL to oleate:palmitate or only palmitate-treated cells both at intracellular and extracellular level, while BNIP3L was up-regulated only at extracellular level. UBE2V1, RP11-128N14.5, TGFB2/TGFB2-OT1 and HBA2 up-regulation was also observed at histological level. UBE2V1, RP11-128N14.5, BNIP3L and TGFB2/TGFB2-OT1 correlated with histological/biochemical data. Combinations of TGFB2/TGFB2-OT1 + Fibrosis Index based on the four factors (FIB-4) showed an Area Under the Curve (AUC) of 0.891 (P = 3.00E-06) or TGFB2/TGFB2-OT1 + Fibroscan (AUC = 0.892, P = 2.00E-06) improved the detection of F = 3-4 with respect to F = 0-2 fibrosis stages. CONCLUSIONS:We identified specific serum coding/non-coding RNA profiles in severe and mild NAFLD patients that possibly mirror the molecular mechanisms underlying NAFLD progression towards NASH/fibrosis. TGFB2/TGFB2-OT1 detection improves FIB-4/Fibroscan diagnostic performance for advanced fibrosis discrimination.
Project description:Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is major health burden lacking effective pharmacological therapies. Clinical trials enrol patients with histologically-defined NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) activity score (NAS)???4 and Kleiner-Brunt fibrosis stage (F)???2; however, screen failure rates are often high following biopsy. This study evaluated a non-invasive MRI biomarker, iron-corrected T1 mapping (cT1), as a diagnostic pre-screening biomarker for NASH. In a retrospective analysis of 86 biopsy confirmed NAFLD patients we explored the potential of blood and imaging biomarkers, both in isolation and in combination, to discriminate those who have NAS???4 and F???2 from those without. Stepwise logistic regression was performed to select the optimal combination of biomarkers, diagnostic accuracy was determined using area under the receiver operator curve and model validated confirmed with and fivefold cross-validation. Results showed that levels of cT1, AST, GGT and fasting glucose were all good predictors of NAS???4 and F???2, and the model identified the combination of cT1-AST-fasting glucose (cTAG) as far superior to any individual biomarker (AUC 0.90 [0.84-0.97]). This highlights the potential utility of the composite cTAG score for screening patients prior to biopsy to identify those suitable for NASH clinical trial enrolment.
Project description:Intestinal dysbiosis and elevated lipopolysaccharides (LPS) levels have been implicated in the development of obesity, insulin resistance and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In order to determine if LPS levels are elevated in patients with NASH compared to patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and, if elevated LPS levels correlated with histological severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) we compared LPS, markers of LPS bioactivity and pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines in patients undergoing bariatric surgery. At the time of surgery a liver biopsy was taken allowing the stratification into well-delineated subgroups including: No NAFL/NAFL; NASH; NASH with fibrosis and NASH cirrhotics, using the NAFLD Activity Score (NAS). Anthropometric data and plasma were collected for assessment of LPS, lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP), soluble CD14 (sCD14), intestinal-type fatty acid binding protein (iFABP), Toll-like receptors 2 and 4 (TLR2, 4) and a panel of cytokines/chemokines. Similar analysis was performed on plasma from a cohort of healthy controls. Our data indicate elevated levels of LPS, LBP, sCD14, iFABP and TLR2,4 in obese patients compared to healthy controls, however, these parameters remained unaltered within patients with limited liver disease (NAFL) compared to NASH/NASH with fibrosis subgroups. Hierarchic cluster analysis using endotoxin-related parameters failed to discriminate between lean controls, NAFLD. While similar cluster analysis implementing inflammation-related parameters clearly distinguished lean controls, NALFD subgroups and NASH cirrhotics. In addition, LPS levels was not associated with disease severity while TNF?, IL8, and CCL3 featured a clear correlation with transaminase levels and the histological severity of NALFD. In conclusion our data indicate a stronger correlation for circulating inflammatory- rather than endotoxin-related parameters in progression of NAFLD and highlights the need for additional larger studies in unravelling further mechanistic insights.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The burden of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasing globally, and a major priority is to identify patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) who are at greater risk of progression to cirrhosis, and who will be candidates for clinical trials and emerging new pharmacotherapies. We aimed to develop a score to identify patients with NASH, elevated NAFLD activity score (NAS?4), and advanced fibrosis (stage 2 or higher [F?2]). METHODS:This prospective study included a derivation cohort before validation in multiple international cohorts. The derivation cohort was a cross-sectional, multicentre study of patients aged 18 years or older, scheduled to have a liver biopsy for suspicion of NAFLD at seven tertiary care liver centres in England. This was a prespecified secondary outcome of a study for which the primary endpoints have already been reported. Liver stiffness measurement (LSM) by vibration-controlled transient elastography and controlled attenuation parameter (CAP) measured by FibroScan device were combined with aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), or AST:ALT ratio. To identify those patients with NASH, an elevated NAS, and significant fibrosis, the best fitting multivariable logistic regression model was identified and internally validated using boot-strapping. Score calibration and discrimination performance were determined in both the derivation dataset in England, and seven independent international (France, USA, China, Malaysia, Turkey) histologically confirmed cohorts of patients with NAFLD (external validation cohorts). This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01985009. FINDINGS:Between March 20, 2014, and Jan 17, 2017, 350 patients with suspected NAFLD attending liver clinics in England were prospectively enrolled in the derivation cohort. The most predictive model combined LSM, CAP, and AST, and was designated FAST (FibroScan-AST). Performance was satisfactory in the derivation dataset (C-statistic 0·80, 95% CI 0·76-0·85) and was well calibrated. In external validation cohorts, calibration of the score was satisfactory and discrimination was good across the full range of validation cohorts (C-statistic range 0·74-0·95, 0·85; 95% CI 0·83-0·87 in the pooled external validation patients' cohort; n=1026). Cutoff was 0·35 for sensitivity of 0·90 or greater and 0·67 for specificity of 0·90 or greater in the derivation cohort, leading to a positive predictive value (PPV) of 0·83 (84/101) and a negative predictive value (NPV) of 0·85 (93/110). In the external validation cohorts, PPV ranged from 0·33 to 0·81 and NPV from 0·73 to 1·0. INTERPRETATION:The FAST score provides an efficient way to non-invasively identify patients at risk of progressive NASH for clinical trials or treatments when they become available, and thereby reduce unnecessary liver biopsy in patients unlikely to have significant disease. FUNDING:Echosens and UK National Institute for Health Research.
Project description:Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a common cause of serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) elevations and chronic liver disease, but it is unclear how well ALT elevations reflect the liver injury.To assess how well changes in ALT elevations reflect improvements in liver histology in response to vitamin E therapy.The vitamin E and placebo arms of the Pioglitazone vs. Vitamin E vs. Placebo in Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (PIVENS) trial were reassessed for associations among changes in ALT levels, body weight and liver histology. An ALT response was defined as a decrease to ?40 U/L and by ?30% of baseline. Liver biopsies taken before and after treatment were scored for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease activity (NAS) and fibrosis.ALT responses were more frequent among vitamin E (48%) than placebo (16%) recipients (P < 0.001). Among vitamin E recipients, ALT responses were associated with decreases in NAS (P < 0.001), but not fibrosis scores (P = 0.34), whereas among placebo recipients, ALT responses were associated with significant decreases in both (P < 0.05). Weight loss (?2 kg) was also associated with ALT response (P < 0.001), improvements in NAS (P < 0.001) and fibrosis (P < 0.02), but vitamin E had an added effect both with and without weight loss. Weight gain (?2 kg) was associated with lack of ALT response and worsening NAS and fibrosis scores in patients not on vitamin E.Decrease of ALT levels to normal in patients with NASH is usually associated with improved histological activity. Management should stress the value of weight loss and strongly discourage weight gain. Vitamin E can improve both ALT levels and histology with and without weight loss.NCT00063622.
Project description:A high-fat "Western-style" diet (HFWD) promotes obesity-related conditions including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the histologic manifestation of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In addition to high saturated fat and processed carbohydrates, the typical HFWD is deficient in calcium. Calcium-deficiency is an independent risk factor for many conditions associated with the Western-style diet. However, calcium has not been widely evaluated in the context of NAFLD. The goal of the present study was to determine if dietary calcium supplementation could protect mice fed a HFWD from NAFLD, specifically by decreasing non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and its down-stream consequences. Male C57BL/6NCrl mice were maintained for 18-months on a HFWD containing dietary calcium at either 0.41 gm/kg feed (unsupplemented) or 5.25 gm/kg feed (supplemented). Although there was no difference in body weight or steatosis, calcium-supplemented mice were protected against downstream consequences of hepatic steatosis, manifested by lower inflammation, less fibrosis, and by lower overall histologic NAFLD activity scores (NAS). Calcium supplementation correlated with distinctly segregating gut fecal and cecal microbial communities as defined by 16S rRNA gene sequence. Further, calcium supplementation also correlated with decreased hepatic concentration of the major conjugated murine primary bile acid, tauro-?-muricholic acid (as well as a decrease in the parent unconjugated bile acid). Thus, calcium was protective against progression of diet-induced hepatic steatosis to NASH and end-stage liver disease, suggesting that calcium supplementation may effectively protect against adverse hepatic consequences of HFWD in cases where overall diet modification cannot be sustained. This protective effect occurred in concert with calcium-mediated gut microbial community shifts and alterations of the hepatic bile acid pool.
Project description:Purpose: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and steatohepatitis are two forms of fatty liver disease with benign and malignant nature, respectively. These two conditions can cause an increased risk of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Given the importance and high prevalence of NAFLD, it is necessary to investigate the results of different studies in related scope to provide a clarity guarantee of effectiveness. Therefore, this systematic review and meta-analysis aim to study the efficacy of various medications used in the treatment of NAFLD. Methods: A systematic search of medical databases identified 1963 articles. After exclusion of duplicated articles and those which did not meet our inclusion criteria, eta-analysis was performed on 84 articles. Serum levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate amino transferase (AST) were set as primary outcomes and body mass index (BMI), hepatic steatosis, and NAFLD activity score (NAS) were determined as secondary outcomes. Results: Based on the P-score of the therapeutic effects on the non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), we observed the highest efficacy for atorvastatin, tryptophan, orlistat, omega-3 and obeticholic acid for reduction of ALT, AST, BMI, steatosis and NAS respectively. Conclusion: This meta-analysis showed that atorvastatin. life-style modification, weight loss, and BMI reduction had a remarkable effect on NAFLD-patients by decreasing aminotransferases.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To investigate the use of MR elastography (MRE)-derived mechanical properties (shear stiffness (|G*|) and loss modulus (G?)) and MRI-derived fat fraction (FF) to predict the nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) activity score (NAS) in a NAFLD mouse model. METHODS:Eighty-nine male mice were studied, including 64 training and 25 independent testing animals. An MRI/MRE exam and histologic evaluation were performed. Pairwise, nonparametric comparisons and multivariate analyses were used to evaluate the relationships between the three imaging parameters (FF, |G*|, and G?) and histologic features. A virtual NAS score (vNAS) was generated by combining three imaging parameters with an ordinal logistic model (OLM) and a generalized linear model (GLM). The prediction accuracy was evaluated by ROC analyses. RESULTS:The combination of FF, |G*|, and G? predicted NAS?>?1 with excellent accuracy in both training and testing sets (AUROC?>?0.84). OLM and GLM predictive models misclassified 3/54 and 6/54 mice in the training, and 1/25 and 1/25 in the testing cohort respectively, in distinguishing between "not-NASH" and "definite-NASH." "Borderline-NASH" prediction was poorer in the training set, and no borderline-NASH mice were available in the testing set. CONCLUSION:This preliminary study shows that multiparametric MRI/MRE can be used to accurately predict the NAS score in a NAFLD animal model, representing a promising alternative to liver biopsy for assessing NASH severity and treatment response. KEY POINTS:• MRE-derived liver stiffness and loss modulus and MRI-assessed fat fraction can be used to predict NAFLD activity score (NAS) in our preclinical mouse model (AUROC?>?0.84 for all NAS levels greater than 1). • The overall agreement between the histological-determined NASH diagnosis and the imaging-predicted NASH diagnosis is 80-92%. • The multiparametric hepatic MRI/MRE has great potential for noninvasively assessing liver disease severity and treatment efficacy.