Alpha-2-macroglobulin and hepatic fibrosis
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Alpha-2-macroglobulin (A2M) is a proteinase inhibitor. Cells synthesizing A2M are in first-order hepatocytes and in second-order activated Ito cells (in culture starting at day 4–5 after seeding). This study was undertaken in 525 alcoholic patients with different histological stages of alcoholic liver disease to assess if the A2M could improve the diagnostic value of PGA index for detection of cirrhosis or fibrosis among drinkers, particularly in patients without clinical symptoms of liver failure and portal hypertension, and to assess the specific correlation of serum A2M with the score of liver fibrosis adjusted for steatosis and alcoholic hepatitis and thereafter adjusted for GGT, PT, and ApoA1, the three components of the PGA index. In 525 alcoholic patients, we have demonstrated the independent diagnostic value of A2M. The predictive values of the weighted score, using linear discriminant function combining PT, GGT, ApoA1 and A2M of the PGAA score and of the PGA score were assessed in a training step and validated in a second step. Then, 316 alcoholic clinically asymptomatic patients were studied. In these patients, the discriminant function permitted correct classification of 72% of patients. The PGAA index had comparable diagnostic value with 70% of patients correctly classified. On the other hand, the PGA index including only PT, GGT, and ApoA1 had classified correctly less patients (65%) than the discriminant function and the PGAA index (P<0.01). For a value of 7, PGAA had 79% specificity and 89% sensitivity for the diagnosis of cirrhosis. A2M was positively correlated with the grade of fibrosis (r=0.39P<0.01). The correlation persisted whatever the degree of steatosis and the degree of alcoholic hepatitis and after adjustment for GGT, PT, and ApoA1. When liver biopsy is not possible, PGAA could be useful for the diagnosis of asymptomatic cirrhosis among drinkers.
Key wordsalpha-2-macroglobulin fibrosis alcoholic cirrhosis drinkers diagnosis
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