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1.  Safety Assessment of Liver-Targeted Hydrodynamic Gene Delivery in Dogs 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107203.
Evidence in support of safety of a gene delivery procedure is essential toward gene therapy. Previous studies using the hydrodynamics-based procedure primarily focus on gene delivery efficiency or gene function analysis in mice. The current study focuses on an assessment of the safety of computer-controlled and liver-targeted hydrodynamic gene delivery in dogs as the first step toward hydrodynamic gene therapy in clinic. We demonstrate that the impacts of the hydrodynamic procedure were limited in the injected region and the influences were transient. Histological examination and the hepatic microcirculation measurement using reflectance spectrophotometry reveal that the liver-specific impact of the procedure involves a transient expansion of the liver sinusoids. No systemic damage or toxicity was observed. Physiological parameters, including electrocardiogram, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and body temperature, remained in normal ranges during and after hydrodynamic injection. Body weight was also examined to assess the long-term effects of the procedure in animals who underwent 3 hydrodynamic injections in 6 weeks with 2-week time interval in between. Serum biochemistry analysis showed a transient increase in liver enzymes and a few cytokines upon injection. These results demonstrate that image-guided, liver-specific hydrodynamic gene delivery is safe.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107203
PMCID: PMC4175463  PMID: 25251246
2.  Successful management of severe intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy: report of a first Japanese case 
BMC Gastroenterology  2014;14(1):160.
Background
Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a cholestasis condition caused by elevated levels of serum bile acids that mainly occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy. Maternal symptoms include pruritus; elevation of transaminases, biliary enzymes, and bilirubin levels; and abnormal liver function tests. Fetal symptoms include spontaneous preterm labor, fetal distress, and intrauterine death. It is more prevalent in the Caucasians and is rarely found in Asian countries, including Japan. The etiology of ICP has been reported as involving various factors such as, environmental factors, hormone balance, and genetic components. The genetic factors include single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the genes of canalicular transporters, including ABCB4 and ABCB11. It has also been reported that the combination of these SNPs induces severe cholestasis and liver dysfunction.
Case presentation
Here, we report for the first time a 24-year Japanese case of severe ICP diagnosed by typical symptoms, serum biochemical analysis, and treated with the administration of ursodeoxycholic acid which improved cholestasis and liver injury and prevented fetal death. The sequence analysis showed SNPs reported their association with ICP in the ABCB11 (rs2287622, V444A) and ABCB4 (rs1202283, N168N) loci.
Conclusion
The risk of ICP has been reported to be population-specific, and it is rare in the Japanese population. Our case was successfully treated with ursodeoxycholic acid and the genetic sequence analysis has supported the diagnosis. Because genetic variation in ABCB4 and ABCB11 has also been reported in the Japanese population, we need to be aware of potential ICP cases in pregnant Japanese women although further studies are necessary.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-14-160
PMCID: PMC4175624  PMID: 25218883
Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy; Bile acid; Ursodeoxycholic acid; Single-nucleotide polymorphism; ABCB11; ABCB4
3.  Hepatitis B virus X stimulates redox signaling through activation of ataxia telangiectasia mutated kinase 
Hepatitis B virus X (HBX) protein plays a crucial role in carcinogenesis, but its mechanism is unclear. The involvement of ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase in the enhanced redox system was investigated by examining the phosphorylation level of ATM in HBX gene-transfected cells and in transgenic mice following redox system manipulation by treatment with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) or antioxidant. Western blotting and immunostaining showed that phospho-ATM was significantly increased by HBX both in vitro (3.2-fold; p<0.05) and in vivo (4-fold; p<0.05), and this effect was abrogated by antioxidant treatment. The level of PKC-δ in HBX-expressing cells was increased 3.5-fold compared to controls. Nuclear localized NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) was increased in HBX-expressing cells exposed to H2O2, but remained at lower levels after the treatment with rottlerin, KU55933, or caffeine. The levels of anti-oxidant molecules were increased in HBX expressing cells and in transgenic mice, indicating that HBX stimulates the Nrf2-mediated redox system. The levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) were significantly increased in HBX-expressing cells treated with hydrogen peroxide in the presence of ATM inhibitor KU55933 or caffeine. Treatment of HBX-expressing cells with KU55933 or caffeine before the exposure to H2O2 increased the ratio of cell apoptosis to 33 ± 4% (p<0.05) and 22 ± 4% (p<0.05), respectively. Collectively, HBX stimulates the ATM-mediated PKC-δ/Nrf2 pathway, and maintains the enhanced activity of the redox system. Therefore, manipulating ATM kinase activity might be a useful strategy for treating HBX-induced carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4069949  PMID: 24966912
Hepatitis B virus X; ataxia telangiectasia mutated; reactive oxygen species
4.  Valproic acid overcomes transforming growth factor-β-mediated sorafenib resistance in hepatocellular carcinoma 
Sorafenib is a multi-kinase inhibitor approved for hepatocellular carcinoma, but rarely causes tumor regression in patients with chronic liver diseases. To investigate whether growth factor-mediated signaling is involved in sorafenib resistance, HepG2 and PLC/PRF/5 hepatoma cells were exposed to epidermal growth factor (EGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) or transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) prior to treatment with sorafenib. Furthermore, to identify an effective combination treatment with sorafenib, growth factor-sensitized cells were treated with sorafenib alone or in combination with celecoxib, lovastatin or valproic acid (VPA). Trypan blue staining and Annexin V assays showed that the cytotoxic effect of sorafenib was inhibited by 15-54% in cells sensitized to TGF-β (P<0.05). Western blotting analysis showed that TGF-β significantly activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)-mediated AKT signaling, and sorafenib failed to suppress both ERK and AKT in TGF-β-sensitized cells. The decreased anti-tumor effect of sorafenib was rescued by chemical inhibition of ERK and AKT. When TGF-β-sensitized cells were treated with sorafenib plus VPA, the levels of phosphorylated ERK and AKT were considerably suppressed and the numbers of dead cells were increased by 3.7-5.7-fold compared with those exposed to sorafenib alone (P<0.05). Moreover, low dose sorafenib-induced cell migration was effectively suppressed by combination treatment with sorafenib and VPA. Collectively, TGF-β/ERK/AKT signaling might play a critical role in sorafenib resistance in hepatoma cells, and combination treatment with VPA may be effective against this drug resistance.
PMCID: PMC4014211  PMID: 24817927
Sorafenib; TGF-β; hepatocellular carcinoma
5.  Autoantibodies in primary biliary cirrhosis: Recent progress in research on the pathogenetic and clinical significance 
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic progressive cholestatic liver disease characterized by immune-mediated destruction of the small- and medium-sized intrahepatic bile ducts and the presence of antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA) in the serum. AMA are detected in over 90% of patients with PBC, whereas their prevalence in the general population is extremely low, varying from 0.16% to 1%. Previous studies have shown that the unique characteristics of biliary epithelial cells undergoing apoptosis may result in a highly direct and very specific immune response to mitochondrial autoantigens. Moreover, recent studies have demonstrated that serum from AMA-positive PBC patients is reactive with a number of xenobiotic modified E2 subunits of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, which is not observed in the serum of normal individuals. These findings indicate that chemicals originating from the environment may be associated with a breakdown in the tolerance to mitochondrial autoantigens. While it is currently generally accepted that AMA are the most specific serological markers of PBC, more than 60 autoantibodies have been investigated in patients with PBC, and some have previously been considered specific to other autoimmune diseases. This review covers the recent progress in research on the pathogenetic and clinical significance of important autoantibodies in PBC. Determining the pathogenic role of those autoantibodies in PBC remains a priority of basic and clinical research.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i10.2606
PMCID: PMC3949269  PMID: 24627596
Primary biliary cirrhosis; Autoantibodies; Anti-mitochondrial antibodies; Anticentromere antibodies; Anti-gp210 antibodies
6.  Presence of Antibodies against Self Human Leukocyte Antigen Class II Molecules in Autoimmune Hepatitis 
Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) can arise de novo after liver transplantation (LT) for non-autoimmune liver diseases. Considering the identical features of de novo AIH after LT and classical AIH, as well as the importance of anti-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies in graft rejection, we investigated the presence of circulating anti-HLA class II antibodies in the sera of 35 patients with AIH, 30 patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), and 30 healthy donors using fluorescent dye-impregnated beads bound to HLA molecules. We then investigated the allele specificity of the antibodies and identified the HLA alleles in each patient using DNA-based HLA typing. We also examined HLA class II expression in liver samples using immunohistochemistry. Anti-HLA class II antibodies were detected significantly more frequently in the patients with AIH (88.1%) than in the patients with PBC (33.3%) or in the healthy donors (13.3%) (both P <0.01). We confirmed that the anti-HLA class II antibodies in the AIH patients showed specificity for several HLA class II alleles, including self HLA class II alleles. Moreover, positive reactivity with anti-self HLA class II antibodies was associated with higher serum transaminase levels. In conclusion, we demonstrated, for the first time, that antibodies against self HLA class II alleles were detectable in patients with AIH. Our results suggest that an antibody-mediated immune response against HLA class II molecules on hepatocytes may be involved in the pathogenesis or acceleration of liver injury in AIH.
doi:10.7150/ijms.8633
PMCID: PMC4081305  PMID: 25013363
HLA; AIH; PBC; anti-HLA antibodies.
7.  Parameters Affecting Image-guided, Hydrodynamic Gene Delivery to Swine Liver 
Development of a safe and effective method for gene delivery to hepatocytes is a critical step toward gene therapy for liver diseases. Here, we assessed the parameters for gene delivery to the livers of large animals (pigs, 40–65 kg) using an image-guided hydrodynamics-based procedure that involves image-guided catheter insertion into the lobular hepatic vein and hydrodynamic injection of reporter plasmids using a computer-controlled injector. We demonstrated that injection parameters (relative position of the catheter in the hepatic vasculature, intravascular pressure upon injection, and injection volume) are directly related to the safety and efficiency of the procedure. By optimizing these parameters, we explored for the first time, the advantage of the procedure for sequential injections to multiple lobes in human-sized pigs. The optimized procedure resulted in sustained expression of the human α-1 antitrypsin gene in livers for more than 2 months after gene delivery. In addition, repeated hydrodynamic gene delivery was safely conducted and no adverse events were seen in the entire period of the study. Our results support the clinical applicability of the image-guided hydrodynamic gene delivery method for the treatment of liver diseases.
doi:10.1038/mtna.2013.52
PMCID: PMC4027427  PMID: 24129227
gene therapy; human α-1 antitrypsin; hydrodynamic gene delivery; image-guided gene delivery; non-viral vector
8.  Active treatments are a rational approach for hepatocellular carcinoma in elderly patients 
AIM: To determine whether an active intervention is beneficial for the survival of elderly patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: The survival of 740 patients who received various treatments for HCC between 1983 and 2011 was compared among different age groups using Cox regression analysis. Therapeutic options were principally selected according to the clinical practice guidelines for HCC from the Japanese Society of Hepatology. The treatment most likely to achieve regional control capability was chosen, as far as possible, in the following order: resection, radiofrequency ablation, percutaneous ethanol injection, transcatheter arterial chemoembolization, transarterial oily chemoembolization, hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy, systemic chemotherapy including molecular targeting, or best supportive care. Each treatment was used alone, or in combination, with a clinical goal of striking the best balance between functional hepatic reserve and the volume of the targeted area, irrespective of their age. The percent survival to life expectancy was calculated based on a Japanese national population survey.
RESULTS: The median ages of the subjects during each 5-year period from 1986 were 61, 64, 67, 68 and 71 years and increased significantly with time (P < 0.0001). The Child-Pugh score was comparable among younger (59 years of age or younger), middle-aged (60-79 years of age), and older (80 years of age or older) groups (P = 0.34), whereas the tumor-node-metastasis stage tended to be more advanced in the younger group (P = 0.060). Advanced disease was significantly more frequent in the younger group compared with the middle-aged group (P = 0.010), whereas there was no difference between the middle-aged and elderly groups (P = 0.75). The median survival times were 2593, 2011, 1643, 1278 and 1195 d for 49 years of age or younger, 50-59 years of age, 60-69 years of age, 70-79 years of age, or 80 years of age or older age groups, respectively, whereas the median percent survival to life expectancy were 13.9%, 21.9%, 24.7%, 25.7% and 37.6% for each group, respectively. The impact of age on actual survival time was significant (P = 0.020) with a hazard ratio of 1.021, suggesting that a 10-year-older patient has a 1.23-fold higher risk for death, and the overall survival was the worst in the oldest group. On the other hand, when the survival benefit was evaluated on the basis of percent survival to life expectancy, age was again found to be a significant explanatory factor (P = 0.022); however, the oldest group showed the best survival among the five different age groups. The youngest group revealed the worst outcomes in this analysis, and the hazard ratio of the oldest against the youngest was 0.35 for death. The survival trends did not differ substantially between the survival time and percent survival to life expectancy, when survival was compared overall or among various therapeutic interventions.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that a therapeutic approach for HCC should not be restricted due to patient age.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i24.3831
PMCID: PMC3699049  PMID: 23840122
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Population aging; Survival; Life expectancy; Active intervention
9.  Immunohistochemical Character of Hepatic Angiomyolipoma: For Its Management 
Case Reports in Medicine  2013;2013:298143.
Hepatic angiomyolipoma (AML) is notoriously difficult to diagnose without an invasive surgery even with the recent development of the various imaging modalities. Additionally, recent reports showed its malignant behavior after the surgery; it is important to diagnose the character of each tumor including the possible malignant potential and determine the postoperative management for each case. For this purpose, we have reviewed reports and focused on the immunohistochemical staining with p53 and ki67 of the tumors showing the representative case of 60-year-old female. The imaging study of her tumor showed the character similar to the hepatocellular carcinoma, and she underwent the hepatectomy. The resected tumor stained positive for HMB-45 that is a marker of the AML, and 30–50% of the tumor cells were positively stained with Ki67 that is a mitotic marker. Also, the atypical epithelioid cells displayed p53 immunoreactivity. These results suggest the malignant potential of our tumor based on the previous reports; therefore the careful followup for this case is necessary for a long period whether it shows metastasis, sizing up, and so forth.
doi:10.1155/2013/298143
PMCID: PMC3705845  PMID: 23864864
10.  Low fat intake is associated with pathological manifestations and poor recovery in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma 
Nutrition Journal  2013;12:79.
Background
This study aimed to clarify whether dietary deviation is associated with pathological manifestations in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients.
Methods
Dietary intake was estimated in 35 HCC cases before and after hospitalization by referencing digital camera images of each meal. Pathological conditions were evaluated in nitrogen balance, non-protein respiratory quotient (npRQ), neuropsychiatric testing and recovery speed from HCC treatment.
Results
On admission, nitrogen balance and npRQ were negative and less than 0.85, respectively. Five patients were judged to have suffered from minimal hepatic encephalopathy that tended to be associated with a lowered value of npRQ (p = 0.082). The energy from fat intake showed a tendency of positive correlation with npRQ (p = 0.11), and the patients with minimal hepatic encephalopathy took significantly fewer energy from fat (p = 0.024). The energy difference from fat between diets at home versus those in the hospital showed a significant positive correlation with npRQ change after admission (p = 0.014). The recovery speed from invasive treatments for HCC showed a significant negative correlation with npRQ alteration after admission (p = 0.0002, r = −0.73).
Conclusions
These results suggest the lower fat intake leads to deterioration of energy state in HCC patients, which associates with poor recovery from invasive treatments and various pathological manifestations.
doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-79
PMCID: PMC3691615  PMID: 23758691
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Protein-energy malnutrition; Minimal hepatic encephalopathy; Non-protein respiratory quotient
11.  DNA Damage Sensor γ-H2AX Is Increased in Preneoplastic Lesions of Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:597095.
Background. Phosphorylated histone H2AX (γ-H2AX) is a potential regulator of DNA repair and is a useful tool for detecting DNA damage. To evaluate the clinical usefulness of γ-H2AX in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), we measured the level of γ-H2AX in HCC, dysplastic nodule, and nontumorous liver diseases. Methods. The level of γ-H2AX was measured by immunohistochemistry in fifty-eight HCC, 18 chronic hepatitis, 22 liver cirrhosis, and 19 dysplastic nodules. Appropriate cases were also examined by fluorescence analysis and western blotting. Results. All cases with chronic liver disease showed increased levels of γ-H2AX expression. In 40 (69.9%) of 58 cases with HCC, the labeling index (LI) of γ-H2AX was above 50% and was inversely correlated with the histological grade. Mean γ-H2AX LI was the highest in dysplastic nodule (74.1 ± 22.1%), which was significantly higher than HCC (P < 0.005). Moreover, γ-H2AX was significantly increased in nontumorous tissues of HCC as compared with liver cirrhosis without HCC (62.5 ± 24.7%, from 5.1 to 96.0%, P < 0.005). Conclusions. γ-H2AX was increased in the preneoplastic lesions of HCC and might be a useful biomarker for predicting the risk of HCC.
doi:10.1155/2013/597095
PMCID: PMC3603670  PMID: 23533353
12.  A safe and effective dose of cisplatin in hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy for hepatocellular carcinoma 
Cancer Medicine  2013;2(1):86-98.
Cisplatin (CDDP) is an anticancer agent that is commonly used in hepatic arterial infusion (HAI) chemotherapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study aimed to clarify the safe and effective dose of CDDP in HAI for HCC. The hypervascular area was measured in 42 HCCs before and after HAI with CDDP. Serum platinum concentration was quantified in the peripheral and/or middle hepatic veins by atomic absorption spectrometry. The relation between the HCC response and CDDP dose was statistically analyzed. The multiple HCC nodules in an individual case generally demonstrated the same response to CDDP. The free-platinum concentration stayed relatively constant in the hepatic vein during HAI followed by a rapid decline, while total-platinum gradually increased then slowly disappeared over several days. After CDDP-HAI, 15 HCCs shrunk and 27 HCCs grew. The reduction rate in the shrunken nodules was tended to be correlated with CDDP dose after standardization with the target liver volume. On the other hand, the growth rate of the enlarged HCCs was significantly correlated with CDDP dose after normalization with creatinine clearance. These data support a recommendation of CDDP-HAI infusion where the amount of CDDP (mg) administered is less than patient creatinine clearance (mL/min/1.73 m2) upon an assumption of HCC doubling time of 90 days, and the targeted liver is smaller than 200 times the CDDP dose (mg). A further analysis is required to define appropriate injection speeds.
doi:10.1002/cam4.55
PMCID: PMC3797567  PMID: 24133631
Cisplatin; dose recommendation; hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy; hepatocellular carcinoma
13.  Hepatic Angiomyolipoma: Diagnostic Findings and Management 
Angiomyolipoma (AML) is a benign mesenchymal tumor that is frequently found in the kidney and, rarely, in the liver. The natural history of hepatic AML has not been clarified, and, because of the similar patterns in imaging studies, such as ultrasonography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging, some of these tumors have been overdiagnosed as hepatocellular carcinoma in the past. With an increase in the number of case reports showing detailed imaging studies and immunohistochemical staining of the tumor with human melanoma black-45, the diagnostic accuracy is also increasing. In this paper, we focused on the role of noninvasive imaging studies and histological diagnosis showing distinctive characteristics of this tumor. In addition, because several reports have described tumor progression in terms of size, recurrence after surgical resection, metastasis to other organs, and portal thrombosis, we summarized these cases for the management and discussed the indications for the surgical treatment of this tumor.
doi:10.1155/2012/410781
PMCID: PMC3540709  PMID: 23320180
14.  Phase I study of miriplatin combined with transarterial chemotherapy using CDDP powder in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:127.
Background
There is no standard therapeutic procedure for the hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with poor hepatic reserve function. With the approval of newly developed chemotherapeutic agent of miriplatin, we have firstly conducted the phase I study of CDDP powder (DDP-H) and miriplatin combination therapy and reported its safety and efficacy for treating unresectable HCC in such cases. To determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) for the combination of transarterial oily chemoembolization (TOCE) and transarterial chemotherapy (TAC) using miriplatin and DDP-H for treating unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Methods
Transarterial chemotherapy using DDP-H was performed through the proper hepatic artery targeting the HCC nodules by increasing the dose of DDP-H (35–65 mg/m2) followed by targeting the HCC nodules by transarterial oily chemoembolization with miriplatin.
Results
A total of nine patients were enrolled in this study and no DLT was observed with any dose of DDP-H in all cases in whom 80 mg (median, 18–120) miriplatin was administered. An anti-tumour efficacy rating for partial response was obtained in one patient, while a total of four patients (among eight evaluated) showed stable disease response, leading to 62.5% of disease control rate. The pharmacokinetic results showed no further increase in plasma platinum concentration following miriplatin administration.
Conclusion
Our results suggest that a combination of DDP-H and miriplatin can be safely administered up to their respective MTD for treating HCC.
Trial registration
This study was registered with the University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry (UMIN-CTR000003541).
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-127
PMCID: PMC3482551  PMID: 22994941
Miriplatin; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Cisplatin powder; Phase I clinical trial
15.  Head and neck contrast-enhanced CT for identification of internal carotid artery stenosis progression on the affected side after treatment for oral squamous cell carcinoma 
Oral Radiology  2012;29(1):1-5.
Objectives
To determine the incidence of progressive internal carotid artery (ICA) stenosis by head and neck contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) in 82 patients who underwent surgery, chemotherapy, or combination therapy for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).
Methods
The study included 82 patients who underwent head and neck contrast-enhanced CT after surgery alone or combined surgery and chemotherapy for OSCC at the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery of Ichikawa General Hospital, Tokyo Dental College, or Tokyo Dental College Oral Cancer Center between December 2002 and March 2010.
Results
Comparison with previously obtained head and neck contrast-enhanced CT images revealed progressive arterial stenosis of the ICA in five patients with a mean age of 62.0 years. All five patients were male, and their OSCC sites were the tongue in two, the floor of the mouth in two, and the mandibular gingiva in one. Tumor resection and neck dissection were performed for four patients and tumor resection alone for one patient. Four patients underwent chemotherapy. ICA stenosis occurred on the same side as the tumor in all five patients.
Conclusions
The results of this study suggest that, given the possibility of post-treatment vascular events, attention must be paid to subsequent changes in the ICA over time. The results also indicate the usefulness of head and neck contrast-enhanced CT in identifying such problems.
doi:10.1007/s11282-012-0099-8
PMCID: PMC3532718  PMID: 23293426
Radiological diagnosis; Retrospective study; Radiation therapy; Plaque; NASCET
16.  Identification of cellular genes showing differential expression associated with hepatitis B virus infection 
World Journal of Hepatology  2012;4(4):139-148.
AIM: To investigate the impact of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection on cellular gene expression, by conducting both in vitro and in vivo studies.
METHODS: Knockdown of HBV was targeted by stable expression of short hairpin RNA (shRNA) in huH-1 cells. Cellular gene expression was compared using a human 30K cDNA microarray in the cells and quantified by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) (qRT-PCR) in the cells, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and surrounding non-cancerous liver tissues (SL).
RESULTS: The expressions of HBsAg and HBx protein were markedly suppressed in the cells and in HBx transgenic mouse liver, respectively, after introduction of shRNA. Of the 30K genes studied, 135 and 103 genes were identified as being down- and up-regulated, respectively, by at least twofold in the knockdown cells. Functional annotation revealed that 85 and 62 genes were classified into four up-regulated and five down-regulated functional categories, respectively. When gene expression levels were compared between HCC and SL, eight candidate genes that were confirmed to be up- or down-regulated in the knockdown cells by both microarray and qRT-PCR analyses were not expressed as expected from HBV reduction in HCC, but had similar expression patterns in HBV- and hepatitis C virus-associated cases. In contrast, among the eight genes, only APM2 was constantly repressed in HBV non-associated tissues irrespective of HCC or SL.
CONCLUSION: The signature of cellular gene expression should provide new information regarding the pathophysiological mechanisms of persistent hepatitis and hepatocarcinogenesis that are associated with HBV infection.
doi:10.4254/wjh.v4.i4.139
PMCID: PMC3345538  PMID: 22567186
Hepatitis B virus; Differential gene expression; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Gene expression signature; Adipose most abundant 2
17.  Multicentric occurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis 
World Journal of Hepatology  2011;3(1):15-23.
AIM: To reveal the manner of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) focusing on multicentric occurrence (MO) of HCC.
METHODS: We compared clinicopathological characteristics between patients with and without MO of HCC arising from NASH background. The clinical features were implicated with reference to the literature available.
RESULTS: MO of HCC was identified with histological proof in 4 out of 12 patients with NASH-related HCC (2 males and 2 females). One patient had synchronous MO; an advanced HCC, two well-differentiated HCCs and a dysplastic nodule, followed by the development of metachronous MO of HCC. The other three patients had multiple advanced HCCs accompanied by a well-differentiated HCC or a dysplastic nodule. Of these three patients, one had synchronous MO, one had metachronous MO and the other had both synchronous and metachronous MO. There were no obvious differences between the patients with or without MO in terms of liver function tests, tumor markers and anatomical extent of HCC. On the other hand, all four patients with MO of HCC were older than 70 years old and had the comorbidities of obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), hypertension and cirrhosis. Although these conditions were not limited to MO of HCC, all the conditions were met in only one of eight patients without MO of HCC. Thus, concurrence of these conditions may be a predisposing situation to synchronous MO of HCC. In particular, old age, T2DM and cirrhosis were suggested to be prerequisite for MO because these factors were depicted in common among two other cases with MO of HCC under NASH in the literature.
CONCLUSION: The putative predisposing factors and necessary preconditions for synchronous MO of HCC in NASH were suggested in this study. Further investigations are required to clarify the accurate prevalence and predictors of MO to establish better strategies for treatment and prevention leading to the prognostic improvement in NASH.
doi:10.4254/wjh.v3.i1.15
PMCID: PMC3035698  PMID: 21307983
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Multicentric occurrence
18.  Narrow-Banding Images and Structures of Microvessels of Colonic Lesions 
Digestive Diseases and Sciences  2010;56(6):1811-1817.
Background
Magnifying colonoscopy with NBI has been shown to be useful for the differential diagnosis of tumors. However, the relationship between findings on NBI magnification and the microvessel architecture of colorectal lesions remains to be clarified.
Aims
The aim of this study was to clarify the correlation between NBI findings and the microvascular architecture of colorectal lesions according to the depth of microvessels from the mucosal surface.
Methods
A total of 22 colorectal lesions (11 tubular adenomas and 11 hyperplasia) obtained from 22 patients were studied. These lesions were analyzed microscopically on tissue specimens immunostained with CD34. Three-dimensional images were reconstructed from serial sections of tubular adenomas, hyperplasia, and normal mucosa.
Results
Three-dimensional reconstructed images of tubular adenoma and normal mucosa to a depth of less than 150 μm from the mucosal surface showed similar structures to images obtained by NBI magnification. Microvessel diameter was significantly larger in tubular adenoma than in normal mucosa (P = 0.002) and hyperplasia (P = 0.034), and microvessel area was significantly larger in tubular adenoma than in normal mucosa (P < 0.001) and hyperplasia (P < 0.001) only in the superficial mucosal layer (to a depth of less than 150 μm).
Conclusions
TA was characterized by thicker microvessels and higher volume of microvessels than NM and HP. Compared with white light, NBI can more accurately depict the characteristics of microvessels because it uses light with short wavelengths, thereby contributing to high diagnostic capability.
doi:10.1007/s10620-010-1519-4
PMCID: PMC3097341  PMID: 21188522
Colorectal neoplasms; Computer-assisted 3-dimensional imaging; Narrow-band imaging; Colonoscopy
19.  Very-Low-Dose Pegylated Interferon a2a Plus Ribavirin Therapy for Advanced Liver Cirrhosis Type C: A Possible Therapeutic Alternative without Splenic Intervention 
Case Reports in Gastroenterology  2010;4(2):261-266.
Despite the recent progress in interferon (IFN) therapies for chronic hepatitis C, liver cirrhosis remains refractory. One of the major obstacles to successful IFN therapy is low platelet count. Currently, splenic interventions, such as partial splenic embolization (PSE) or surgical splenectomy, have been applied effectively and make standard IFN therapy possible. However, there may be a group of patients with low platelet counts who can be treated without splenic intervention. We here report two patients with advanced type C liver cirrhosis who were successfully treated using very-low-dose pegylated interferon a2a plus ribavirin. One patient had a very low platelet count (2.5 × 104/μl) due to splenomegaly before treatment. However, pretreatment serum HCV titers were low in both patients and early viral responses were obtained in both. Because PSE or splenectomy may still have some safety concerns, this attenuated IFN treatment protocol can be an alternative therapeutic option for patients with advanced type C liver disease, but good virological factors for sustained virological response.
doi:10.1159/000318742
PMCID: PMC2929425  PMID: 20805953
Liver cirrhosis type C; Low-dose pegylated interferon; Ribavirin; Low platelets; Low neutrophils; Avoiding splenic intervention; Low HCV titers
20.  Shear wave velocity is a useful marker for managing nonalcoholic steatohepatitis 
AIM: To investigate whether a noninvasive measurement of tissue strain has a potential usefulness for management of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
METHODS: In total 26 patients, 23 NASHs and 3 normal controls were enrolled in this study. NASH was staged based on Brunt criterion. At a region of interest (ROI), a shear wave was evoked by implementing an acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI), and the propagation velocity was quantified.
RESULTS: Shear wave velocity (SWV) could be reproducibly quantified at all ROIs in all subjects except for 4 NASH cases, in which a reliable SWV value was not calculated at several ROIs. An average SWV of 1.34 ± 0.26 m/s in fibrous stage 0-1 was significantly slower than 2.20 ± 0.74 m/s and 2.90 ± 1.01 m/s in stages 3 and 4, respectively, but was not significantly different from 1.79 ± 0.78 m/s in stage 2. When a cutoff value was set at 1.47 m/s, receiver operating characteristic analysis showed significance to dissociate stages 3 and 4 from stage 0-1 (P = 0.0092) with sensitivity, specificity and area under curve of 100%, 75% and 94.2%, respectively. In addition, the correlation between SWV and hyaluronic acid was significant (P < 0.0001), while a tendency toward negative correlation was observed with serum albumin (P = 0.053).
CONCLUSION: The clinical implementation of ARFI provides noninvasive repeated evaluations of liver stiffness at an arbitrary position, which has the potential to shed new light on NASH management.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v16.i23.2918
PMCID: PMC2887589  PMID: 20556839
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; Ultrasound; Liver stiffness measurement; Shear wave velocity; Acoustic radiation force impulse
21.  Characterization of CD133+ parenchymal cells in the liver: Histology and culture 
AIM: To reveal the characteristics of CD133+ cells in the liver.
METHODS: This study examined the histological characteristics of CD133+ cells in non-neoplastic and neoplastic liver tissues by immunostaining, and also analyzed the biological characteristics of CD133+ cells derived from human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or cholangiocarcinoma cell lines.
RESULTS: Immunostaining revealed constant expression of CD133 in non-neoplastic and neoplastic biliary epithelium, and these cells had the immunophenotype CD133+/CK19+/HepPar-1-. A small number of CD133+/CK19-/HepPar-1+ cells were also identified in HCC and combined hepatocellular and cholangiocarcinoma. In addition, small ductal structures, resembling the canal of Hering, partly surrounded by hepatocytes were positive for CD133. CD133 expression was observed in three HCC (HuH7, PLC5 and HepG2) and two cholangiocarcinoma cell lines (HuCCT1 and CCKS1). Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) revealed that CD133+ and CD133- cells derived from HuH7 and HuCCT1 cells similarly produced CD133+ and CD133- cells during subculture. To examine the relationship between CD133+ cells and the side population (SP) phenotype, FACS was performed using Hoechst 33342 and a monoclonal antibody against CD133. The ratios of CD133+/CD133- cells were almost identical in the SP and non-SP in HuH7. In addition, four different cellular populations (SP/CD133+, SP/CD133-, non-SP/CD133+, and non-SP/CD133-) could similarly produce CD133+ and CD133- cells during subculture.
CONCLUSION: This study revealed that CD133 could be a biliary and progenitor cell marker in vivo. However, CD133 alone is not sufficient to detect tumor-initiating cells in cell lines.
doi:10.3748/wjg.15.4896
PMCID: PMC2764966  PMID: 19842219
Cholangiocarcinoma; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Keratins; Stem cells
22.  Identification of a novel motif responsible for the distinctive transforming activity of human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV) type 1 Tax1 protein from HTLV-2 Tax2 
Retrovirology  2009;6:83.
Background
Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a causative agent of adult T-cell leukemia (ATL), whereas its relative HTLV-2 is not associated with any malignancies including ATL. HTLV-1 Tax1 transformed a T-cell line from interleukin (IL)-2-dependent growth to IL-2-independent growth, with an activity that was much more potent in comparison to HTLV-2 Tax2. This distinction was mediated by at least two Tax1 specific functions, an interaction with host cellular factors through the PDZ domain binding motif (PBM) and the activation of NF-kappaB2 (NF-κB2)/p100.
Results
Using a series of Tax1 chimeric proteins with Tax2, we found that amino acids 225-232 of Tax1, the Tax1(225-232) region, was essential for the activation of NF-κB2 as well as for the high transforming activity. The strict amino acid conservation of Tax1(225-232) among HTLV-1 and simian T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (STLV-1), but not HTLV-2 and STLV-2, indicates that function(s) through the Tax1(225-232) region are biologically significant. Interestingly, another HTLV-1 relative, HTLV-3, has a PBM, but does not conserve the Tax1(225-232) motif in Tax3, thus indicating that these two motifs classify the three HTLVs into the separate groups.
Conclusion
These results suggest that the combinatory functions through Tax1(225-232) and PBM play crucial roles in the distinct biological properties of the three HTLVs, perhaps also including their pathogenesis.
doi:10.1186/1742-4690-6-83
PMCID: PMC2754985  PMID: 19761585
23.  Successful Treatment in a Case of Massive Hepatocellular Carcinoma with Paraneoplastic Syndrome 
Case Reports in Gastroenterology  2009;3(1):105-110.
Paraneoplastic syndromes of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are not uncommon. However, the prognosis is poor and follow-up and improvement of paraneoplastic syndromes with treatment have been reported rarely. We report a successful case in an aged man of a massive HCC with paraneoplastic syndrome, treated by combined intraarterial chemotherapy and hepatic resection. Paraneoplastic syndrome (erythrocytosis and hyperlipidemia) was monitored throughout the treatment and erythropoietin (EPO) mRNA also was analyzed in the resected liver. The hemoglobin level and serum levels of EPO and total cholesterol (T-cho) decreased dramatically with treatment, along with a decrease in serum levels of α-fetoprotein and protein induced by vitamin vitamin K absence II (PIVKA-II). Semiquantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) revealed that the residual cancer expressed EPO RNA but the nontumor tissue did not. This was a rare case of paraneoplastic syndrome of HCC that was treated successfully. This case indicates that paraneoplastic syndrome reflected tumor progression and that serum levels of both EPO and T-cho might be used as tumor markers.
doi:10.1159/000213480
PMCID: PMC2895185  PMID: 20651974
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Paraneoplastic syndrome; Erythrocytosis; Hyperlipidemia
24.  Features of hepatocellular carcinoma in cases with autoimmune hepatitis and primary biliary cirrhosis 
AIM: To characterize the clinical features of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) associated with autoimmune liver disease, we critically evaluated the literature on HCC associated with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC).
METHODS: A systematic review of the literature was conducted using the Japana Centra Revuo Medicina database which produced 38 cases of HCC with AIH (AIH-series) and 50 cases of HCC with PBC (PBC-series). We compared the clinical features of these two sets of patients with the general Japanese HCC population.
RESULTS: On average, HCC was more common in men than in women with AIH or PBC. While many patients underwent chemolipiodolization (CL) or transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE) (AIH-series: P = 0.048 (vs operation), P = 0.018 (vs RFA, PEIT); PBC-series: P = 0.027 (vs RFA, PEIT), others refused therapeutic interventions [AIH-series: P = 0.038 (vs RFA, PEIT); PBC-series: P = 0.003 (vs RFA, PEIT)]. Liver failure was the primary cause of death among patients in this study, followed by tumor rupture. The survival interval between diagnosis and death was fairly short, averaging 14 ± 12 mo in AIH patients and 8.4 ± 14 mo in PBC patients.
CONCLUSION: We demonstrated common clinical features among Japanese cases of HCC arising from AIH and PBC.
doi:10.3748/wjg.15.231
PMCID: PMC2653317  PMID: 19132775
Autoimmune hepatitis; Autoimmune liver disease; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Literature review; Primary biliary cirrhosis
25.  A case of lamivudine-sensitive de novo acute hepatitis B induced by rituximab with the CHOP regimen for diffuse large B cell lymphoma 
Hepatology International  2008;3(1):316-322.
A case of de novo acute hepatitis B that showed symptoms of general malaise and anorexia during rituximab therapy with the CHOP regimen for diffuse large B cell lymphoma is reported. Lamivudine was strikingly effective, showing a rapid recovery from liver damage with jaundice. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA in serum became and stayed undetectable even after the withdrawal of lamivudine, although HBsAg remained positive over 42 months from the onset. Liver biopsy showed a picture suggestive of acute viral hepatitis with multinucleated giant hepatocytes and CD38-positive plasma cell infiltration into liver parenchyma. Immunohistochemically, CD3-positive T-cells were predominant cells that infiltrated in liver parenchyma, whereas CD20-positive B cells were essentially null. Hence, it is suggested from these findings that B lymphocytes might be crucial for the continuous latency in HBV infection and may give rise to de novo acute hepatitis B if totally deleted. Moreover, the CHOP regimen might have some additive effects with the repeated on–off use of corticosteroids to the onset of the disease. In addition, significance of plasma cell infiltration in this setting is discussed.
doi:10.1007/s12072-008-9094-x
PMCID: PMC2712308  PMID: 19669383
De novo acute hepatitis B; Rituximab; Lamivudine

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