Background: The liver secretes very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDLs) and plays a key role in lipid metabolism. Plasma total triglyceride (TG) level variations have been studied in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related chronic hepatitis (CH-C). However, the results of these studies are variable. A homogenous assay protocol was recently proposed to directly measure the TG content in VLDL (VLDL-TG) and VLDL remnants. Methodology/Principal Findings: Using the assay protocol, we determined serum VLDL-TG levels in 69 fasting patients with biopsy-proven HCV-related chronic liver disease and 50 healthy subjects. Patients were classified into stages F0-F4 using the 5-point Desmet scale. Serum total TG levels in patients with non-cirrhotic (F1-F3) CH-C did not demonstrate significant differences compared with healthy subjects, but serum VLDL-TG levels did demonstrate significant differences. Mean serum VLDL-TG levels tended to decrease with disease progression from F1 to F4 (cirrhosis). Compared with healthy subjects, serum non-VLDL-TG levels significantly increased in patients with stages F2 and F3 CH-C; however, we observed no significant difference in patients with liver cirrhosis. Furthermore, the serum VLDL-TG/non-VLDL-TG ratio, when taken, demonstrated a significant decrease in patients with CH-C from the mildest stage F1 onward. Conclusions/Significance: The decrease in serum VLDL-TG levels was attenuated by increase in non-VLDL-TG levels in patients with non-cirrhotic CH-C, resulting in comparable total TG levels. Results of previous studies though variable, were confirmed to have a logical basis. The decrease in the serum VLDL-TG/non-VLDL-TG ratio as early as stage F1 demonstrated TG metabolic alterations in early stages of CH-C for the first time. The involvement of TG metabolism in CH-C pathogenesis has been established in experimental animals, while conventional TG measurements are generally considered as poor indicators of CH-C progression in clinical practice. The serum VLDL-TG/non-VLDL-TG ratio, which focuses on TG metabolic alterations, may be an early indicator of CH-C.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences