Konstantin Kazankov

Macrophage Markers are Poorly Associated with Liver Histology in Children with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

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  • Konstantin Kazankov
  • Anna Alisi, Molecular Genetics of Complex Phenotypes, "Bambino Gesù" Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Piazza S. Onofrio 4, 00165 Rome, Italy.
  • ,
  • Holger Jon Møller
  • Rita De Vito, Unit of Pathology, 'Bambino Gesù' Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Piazza S. Onofrio 4, 00165 Rome, Italy.
  • ,
  • Søren Rittig
  • Birgitte Mahler
  • Valerio Nobili, Pediatric Department, University La Sapienza Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy.
  • ,
  • Henning Grønbæk

OBJECTIVES: We have previously demonstrated associations between the macrophage activation marker soluble (s)CD163 and histology of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in adults, and elevated sCD163 levels in obese children with NAFLD. However, macrophage activation has not been investigated in children with biopsy-proven NAFLD, which was the objective of the present study.

METHODS: We used in-house ELISAs to measure sCD163 and the novel macrophage marker soluble mannose receptor (sMR) in a cross-sectional (n = 155) pediatric NAFLD cohort, and a cohort of NAFLD children (n = 36) undergoing a randomized trial by the probiotic VSL#3. We included 56 healthy non-obese children for comparison.

RESULTS: Levels of sCD163 and sMR were higher in both of the NAFLD cohorts compared with controls (p < 0.001). In the cross-sectional cohort, sCD163 only showed trends towards association with ballooning (rho = 0.14, p = 0.08) and portal inflammation (rho = 0.17, p = 0.08). sMR showed similar associations with liver histology. In the VSL#3 cohort, sCD163 correlated inversely with steatosis (rho = -0.35, p = 0.04), and lobular (rho = -0.57, p < 0.001) and portal inflammation (rho = -0.38, p = 0.02); sMR was not associated with any histological scores. Neither sCD163 nor sMR changed significantly during intervention, and without association with NAFLD resolution.

CONCLUSION: The macrophage activation markers sCD163 and sMR showed poor associations with liver histology in two different cohorts of children with biopsy-proven NAFLD, and none of the markers decreased during successful intervention. These results are in contrast with studies of adult NAFLD and may suggest a possibility of different roles for macrophages in the pathogenesis of adult and pediatric NAFLD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Pages (from-to)635–642
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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