Serum Metabolic Profiling of Advanced Cirrhosis Based on HCV


Background: Cirrhosis is recognized by a reduction in hepatocyte proliferation with an increase in fibrous tissue, which may ultimately lead to the development of cancerous nodules. Liver biopsy has remained the gold standard for confirming liver fibrosis stages, but there are not any nonreversible and specific therapeutic targets in advanced cirrhosis. In the present study, we used the NMR method to find potential therapeutic markers in serum of HCV - cirrhotic patients with advanced stage.

Methods: A metabolic profiling study was conducted using 2 groups: decompensated HCV-cirrhosis patients (n = 21) and healthy controls (n = 18). 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) approach was used to obtain the serum metabolic profiles of the samples. The acquired data were processed by the multivariate principal component analysis (PCA) and orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA). Moreover, metabolic pathways were determined using MetaboAnalyst 3.0.

Results: Specifically, 16 metabolites showed alteration between the 2 groups. Compared with healthy controls, a number of metabolites showed increased concentration in serum of decompensated HCV-cirrhosis such as succinic acid, isovaleraldehyde, citrulline, propanal and cinnamaldehyde, while several others were observed in decreased levels in the decompensated HCV-cirrhosis such as valine, glutamine, trimethylamine, lactate, proline, aspartate, lipid, VLDL, isoleucine, fucose, and glutamate. Aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis, alanine, aspartate, glutamate metabolism and arginine, and proline metabolism are the most significant pathways associated with advanced HCV- cirrhosis.

Conclusions: Metabolomic profiling through NMR can identify the metabolic disturbances in advanced HCV-cirrhosis. Aberrant amino acid biosynthesis may be the hallmark with increasing severity of cirrhosis as well as alterations in energetic metabolism.