Macrophage-related serum biomarkers soluble CD163 (sCD163) and soluble mannose receptor (sMR) to differentiate mild liver fibrosis from cirrhosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C: a pilot study
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Macrophages regulate the fibrotic process in chronic liver disease. The aim of the present pilot study was to evaluate two new macrophage-specific serum biomarkers [soluble CD163 (sCD163) and soluble mannose receptor (sMR, sCD206)] as potential fibrosis markers in patients chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Forty patients with chronic hepatitis C were included from two hospital clinics. On the day of inclusion, transient elastography (TE) was performed to assess the fibrosis stage, and blood samples were collected for the measurement of sCD163 and sMR. The plasma concentrations of both biomarkers were significantly higher in patients infected with HCV and with cirrhosis compared to those with no/mild liver fibrosis (5.77 mg/l vs. 2.49 mg/l and 0.44 mg/l vs. 0.30 mg/l for sCD163 and sMR, respectively). The best separation between groups was obtained by sCD163 [area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) 0.89 (95 % confidence interval [CI] 0.79–0.99)] as compared to sMR [AUC 0.75 (95 % CI 0.61–0.90)]. sCD163 and sMR correlated significantly (r 2 = 0.53, p < 0.0001). Interestingly, sCD163 also correlated significantly with TNF-α (presented in a previous publication), which is shed to serum by the same mechanism as sCD163 (r 2 = 0.40, p < 0.0001). In conclusion, the macrophage-related markers sCD163 and sMR are significantly higher in patients chronically infected with HCV and with cirrhosis than in those with no/mild fibrosis. sCD163 is a promising new fibrosis marker in patients infected with HCV.
KeywordsTace Liver Fibrosis Soluble CD163 Liver Stiffness Transient Elastography
We thank laboratory technician Kirsten Bank Petersen for the excellent technical assistance, professor, DMSci, Jens Ole Nielsen for the framework and valuable advice, and biostatistician Steen Ladelund for the important assistance with the statistical analyses. The study was supported by the Danish Council for Strategic Research (TRAIN 10-092797) (Holger Jon Møller). The A.P. Moeller Foundation for the Advancement of Medical Science and the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation supported this study (grant support to Nina Weis).
Conflict of interest
Nina Weis is a member of an advisory board for Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Merck Sharp Dohme Ltd., Janssen Cilag A/S and Gilead Sciences Inc., a teaching consultant for Roche A/S and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and a clinical investigator for Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Janssen Cilag A/S, Merck Sharp Dohme Ltd. and Abbvie A/S. Belinda Moessner has received an unrestricted research grant from Roche A/S. Peer Brehm Christensen has been a member of the advisory board for Roche A/S and has received research grants from Roche A/S and Scheering-Plough A/S. Roche A/S provided the FibroScan equipment used in this study. Aarhus University holds patent applications with Holger Jon Møller and Sidsel Rødgaard-Hansen as co-inventors for the use of sCD163 and sMR in liver disease.
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