Potential Role of Chitotriosidase Gene in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Evolution

Malaguarnera, Lucia; Rosa, Michelino D.; Zambito, Anna M.; dell'Ombra, Nicola; Marco, Roberto D.; Malaguarnera, Mariano
September 2006
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Sep2006, Vol. 101 Issue 9, p2060
Academic Journal
BACKGROUND: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a liver disease characterized by steatosis and periportal and lobular inflammation. The molecular mechanisms involved in the anomalous behavior of liver cells have only partially been disclosed. Human Chitotriosidase (Chit) is a member of the chitinase family that it is mainly synthesized by activated macrophages. We investigated chitotriosidase gene expression in Kupffer cells to determine the potential implication of this enzyme in the inflammation and in the progression from uncomplicated steatosis to steatohepatitis with progressive fibrosis. METHODS: Seventy-five liver biopsies from 40 subjects with NASH, 20 with simple steatosis, and 15 controls were used to detect CHIT expression, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), and lipid peroxidation. RESULTS: CHIT was expressed exclusively by Kupffer cells. The levels of CHIT expression were significantly higher in NASH patients than in simple steatosis patients and in the control group. In addition, we found that CHIT over-expression influenced hepatic stellate cells activation, as demonstrated by the significant correlation between CHIT and α-SMA expression in NASH patients. A significant correlation was observed also between CHIT, TNF-α and lipid peroxidation in both NASH and simple steatosis. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that CHIT over-produced by Kupffer cells may contribute to the progression of hepatic fibrosis.


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