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Gaudio E.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Nobili V.,Unit of Liver Research | Franchitto A.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Onori P.,University of LAquila | Carpino G.,Foro Italico University of Rome
Internal and Emergency Medicine | Year: 2012

Atherosclerosis is a complex inflammatory disease comprising multiple plaque phenotypes. The development of advanced atheromatous plaques with necrotic core represents the result of the invasion of lipid pools by macrophages. The release of activated proteolytic enzymes degrades the surrounding tissue and contributes to the formation of vulnerable plaque. Thinning of the fibrous cap and necrotic core expansion are considered to be critical for the progression toward plaque rupture and acute thrombosis. The pathogenic mechanisms leading the progression of atherosclerotic lesions are various and involve endothelial cells, inflammatory cells, and platelets. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) includes a spectrum of diseases ranging from simple fatty liver to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and may progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The prevalence of this pathology is quite high in the general population and is one of the most important causes of liver-related morbidity and mortality in children. NAFLD is considered the hepatic feature of the metabolic syndrome and this has stimulated interest in its possible role in the atherosclerosis development. Clinical observations indicated that NAFLD might be an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease. Moreover, NASH may increase atherosclerotic and cardiovascular risks by local overexpression of inflammatory mediators, endothelial damage, and regulators of blood pressure. NASH development is correlated with hepatic progenitor cell activation and the release of proatherogenic adipokines. These aspects suggest the necessity for an early therapeutic intervention in NASH patients, not only for ameliorating the liver injury, but also for improving the systemic proatherogenic state. © 2012 SIMI.

Alisi A.,Unit of Liver Research | De Vito R.,Unit of Pathology | Monti L.,Bambino Ges Childrens Hospital | Nobili V.,Unit of Liver Research
Best Practice and Research: Clinical Gastroenterology | Year: 2011

Numerous paediatric liver diseases from different origins may be complicated by development of liver fibrosis and progression to cirrhosis. Although fibrogenesis, which represents a major driving force for the development of liver fibrosis, has common tracts whatever the aetiology, liver fibrosis has different histopathological patterns in paediatric liver disease. In these diseases management choices may depend upon the stage of liver fibrosis. Thus, the accurate estimation of histological pattern of liver fibrosis is important for the prevention of the subsequent complications. Liver biopsy has long been considered as a gold standard diagnostic method for assessing liver fibrosis. However, due to its several disadvantages, in the last decades alternative and accurate non-invasive means to estimate fibrosis are developed. In this review, we characterised the most frequent histological patterns of liver fibrosis in paediatric liver diseases. Furthermore, we describe use of liver biopsy in diagnosis and staging of liver fibrosis, list the alternative non-invasive techniques that have an emerging role in the assessment of liver fibrosis, and propose a management algorithm. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Nobili V.,Unit of Liver Research | Carpino G.,Foro Italico University of Rome | Alisi A.,Unit of Liver Research | De Vito R.,Unit of Pathology | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Introduction: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most important causes of liver-related morbidity and mortality in children. Recently, we have reported the effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the major dietary long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, in children with NAFLD. DHA exerts a potent anti-inflammatory activity through the G protein-coupled receptor (GPR)120. Our aim was to investigate in pediatric NAFLD the mechanisms underlying the effects of DHA administration on histo-pathological aspects, GPR120 expression, hepatic progenitor cell activation and macrophage pool. Patients and Methods: 20 children with untreated NAFLD were included. Children were treated with DHA for 18 months. Liver biopsies before and after the treatment were analyzed. Hepatic progenitor cell activation, macrophage pool and GPR120 expression were evaluated and correlated with clinical and histo-pathological parameters. Results: GPR120 was expressed by hepatocytes, liver macrophages, and hepatic progenitor cells. After DHA treatment, the following modifications were present: i) the improvement of histo-pathological parameters such as NAFLD activity score, ballooning, and steatosis; ii) the reduction of hepatic progenitor cell activation in correlation with histo-pathological parameters; iii) the reduction of the number of inflammatory macrophages; iv) the increase of GPR120 expression in hepatocytes; v) the reduction of serine-311-phosphorylated nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) nuclear translocation in hepatocytes and macrophages in correlation with serum inflammatory cytokines. Conclusions: DHA could modulate hepatic progenitor cell activation, hepatocyte survival and macrophage polarization through the interaction with GPR120 and NF-kB repression. In this scenario, the modulation of GPR120 exploits a novel crucial role in the regulation of the cell-to-cell cross-talk that drives inflammatory response, hepatic progenitor cell activation and hepatocyte survival. © 2014 Nobili et al.

Nobili V.,Unit of Liver Research | Bedogni G.,Clinical Epidemiology Unit | Pietrobattista A.,Unit of Liver Research | Panera N.,Unit of Liver Research | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition | Year: 2013

OBJECTIVES: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in adolescents and children is rapidly becoming one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease worldwide. NAFLD varies from simple fatty liver to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with possible fibrosis. Several studies suggest that oxidative stress plays a central role in several metabolic abnormalities and cellular damage that characterize NAFLD. We investigated whether transition metals and their related proteins were related to NAFLD symptoms and their underlying processes. METHODS: We measured copper, iron, ceruloplasmin (Cp) concentration and activity, transferrin (Tf), ferroxidase activity, and ferritin, and we calculated Tf saturation and Cp to Tf ratio (Cp/Tf) as an index of the activity of the antioxidant Cp-Tf system in 100 children with biopsy-proven NAFLD. Pediatric patients were grouped by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease score (NAS) ≥ 5 (30 subjects) and NAS < 5 (70). RESULTS: Cp distinguished children with NAS ≥ 5 from those with NAS < 5 with an accuracy of 82%. Specifically, a receiver operator characteristics curve showed that a cutoff of 28.6 mg/dL separated NAS ≥ 5 from NAS < 5 with a specificity of 92% and a sensitivity of 76%. The Cp/Tf ratio, as well as copper concentration and Cp activity, decreased in the NAS ≥ 5 group, pointing out an imbalance in metal regulation. Either copper or Cp concentrations were lower in subjects having ballooning. CONCLUSIONS: Serum antioxidant capacity owing to Cp failure is strongly associated with NAFLD-related damage. Further studies are, however, required to clarify the role of Cp in NAFLD pathogenesis and to evaluate its potential application as diagnostic marker. Copyright © 2013 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition.

Carpino G.,Foro Italico University of Rome | Nobili V.,Unit of Liver Research | Renzi A.,University of Rome La Sapienza | De Stefanis C.,Unit of Liver Research | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is one of the most important causes of liver-related morbidity in children. In non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the activation of liver resident macrophage pool is a central event in the progression of liver injury. The aims of the present study were to evaluate the polarization of liver macrophages and the possible role of Wnt3a production by macrophages in hepatic progenitor cell response in the progression of pediatric nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. 32 children with biopsy-proven non-alcoholic fatty liver disease were included. 20 out of 32 patients were treated with docosahexaenoic acid for 18 months and biopsies at the baseline and after 18 months were included. Hepatic progenitor cell activation, macrophage subsets and Wnt/β-catenin pathway were evaluated by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. Our results indicated that in pediatric non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, pro-inflammatory macrophages were the predominant subset. Macrophage polarization was correlated with Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease Activity Score, ductular reaction, and portal fibrosis; docosahexaenoic acid treatment determined a macrophage polarization towards an anti-inflammatory phenotype in correlation with the reduction of serum inflammatory cytokines, with increased macrophage apoptosis, and with the upregulation of macrophage Wnt3a expression; macrophage Wnt3a expression was correlated with β-catenin phosphorylation in hepatic progenitor cells and signs of commitment towards hepatocyte fate. In conclusion, macrophage polarization seems to have a key role in the progression of pediatric non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; the modulation of macrophage polarization could drive hepatic progenitor cell response by Wnt3a production. © 2016 Carpino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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