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1.  Budd-Chiari Syndrome: Long term success via hepatic decompression using transjugular intrahepatic porto-systemic shunt 
BMC Gastroenterology  2010;10:25.
Budd-Chiari syndrome (BCS) generally implies thrombosis of the hepatic veins and/or the intrahepatic or suprahepatic inferior vena cava. Treatment depends on the underlying cause, the anatomic location, the extent of the thrombotic process and the functional capacity of the liver. It can be divided into medical treatment including anticoagulation and thrombolysis, radiological procedures such as angioplasty and transjugular intrahepatic porto-systemic shunt (TIPS) and surgical interventions including orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Controlled trials or reports on larger cohorts are limited due to rare disease frequency. The aim of this study was to report our single centre long term results of patients with BCS receiving one of three treatment options i.e. medication only, TIPS or OLT on an individually based decision of our local expert group.
20 patients with acute, subacute or chronic BCS were treated between 1988 and 2008. Clinical records were analysed with respect to underlying disease, therapeutic interventions, complications and overall outcome.
16 women and 4 men with a mean age of 34 ± 12 years (range: 14-60 years) at time of diagnosis were included. Myeloproliferative disorders or a plasmatic coagulopathy were identified as underlying disease in 13 patients, in the other patients the cause of BCS remained unclear. 12 patients presented with an acute BCS, 8 with a subacute or chronic disease. 13 patients underwent TIPS, 4 patients OLT as initial therapy, 2 patients required only symptomatic therapy, and one patient died from liver failure before any specific treatment could be initiated. Eleven of 13 TIPS patients required 2.5 ± 2.4 revisions (range: 0-8). One patient died from his underlying hematologic disease. The residual 12 patients still have stable liver function not requiring OLT. All 4 patients who underwent OLT as initial treatment, required re-OLT due to thrombembolic complications of the graft. Survival in the TIPS group was 92.3% and in the OLT group 75% during a median follow-up of 4 and 11.5 years, respectively.
Our results confirm the role of TIPS in the management of patients with acute, subacute and chronic BCS. The limited number of patients with OLT does not allow to draw a meaningful conclusion. However, the underlying disease may generate major complications, a reason why OLT should be limited to patients who cannot be managed by TIPS.
PMCID: PMC2838758  PMID: 20193077
2.  Truncating mutations in the Wilson disease gene ATP7B are associated with very low serum ceruloplasmin oxidase activity and an early onset of Wilson disease 
BMC Gastroenterology  2010;10:8.
Mutations in the gene ATP7B cause Wilson disease, a copper storage disorder with a high phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity. We aimed to evaluate whether 'severe' protein-truncating ATP7B mutations (SMs) are associated with low serum ceruloplasmin oxidase activities and an early age of onset when compared to missense mutations (MMs).
The clinical phenotype of 59 genetically confirmed WD patients was analyzed retrospectively. Serum ceruloplasmin was measured by its oxidase activity with o-dianisidine dihydrochloride as substrate and immunologically.
Thirty-nine patients had two MMs, 15 had the genotype SM/MM, and 5 patients had two SMs on their ATP7B alleles. Enzymatic and immunologic serum ceruloplasmin levels differed significantly between the three groups (P < 0.001 and P < 0.01, respectively). The lowest levels were measured in patients with two SMs (0.0 U/L; IQR, 0.0-0.0 U/L and 0.02 g/L; IQR, 0.01-0.02 g/L, respectively) and the highest in patients with two MMs (17.8 U/L; IQR, 5.8-35.1 U/L and 0.11 g/L; IQR,0.10-0.17 g/L, respectively). The age of onset was also significantly different between the three patient groups (P < 0.05), with SM/SM patients showing the earliest onset (13 years; IQR, 9-13 years) and patients with two MMs showing the latest onset (22 years; IQR, 14-27 years). By ROC curve analysis a ceruloplasmin oxidase level ≤ 5 U/L can predict the presence of at least one SM with a sensitivity of 80% and a specificity of 79.5%.
In our German study cohort truncating ATP7B mutations were associated with lower ceruloplasmin serum oxidase levels and an earlier age of onset when compared to MMs. Measurement of serum ceruloplasmin oxidase might help to predict presence of truncating ATP7B mutations and might facilitate the mutation analysis.
PMCID: PMC2845088  PMID: 20082719
3.  Sensitivity and specificity of plasma disappearance rate of indocyanine green as a prognostic indicator in acute liver failure 
BMC Gastroenterology  2009;9:91.
In patients presenting with acute liver failure (ALF) prediction of prognosis is vital to determine the need of transplantation. Based on the evidence that plasma disappearance rate of indocyanine green (ICG-PDR) correlates with liver cell function, we evaluated the ability of ICG-PDR measured by pulse dye densitometry to predict outcome in patients with acute liver failure.
Prospectively markers of hepatocellular injury, synthesis and excretion, including ICG-PDR were measured daily until liver transplantation, death, discharge from intensive care unit, or up to 7 days in 25 patients with acute liver failure. Receiver operating curve (ROC) analysis was performed to assess the value of ICG-PDR to predict outcome in ALF.
The 25 patients analyzed included 18 that recovered spontaneously and 7 that underwent liver transplantation (n = 6) or died (n = 1). Causes of ALF included viral hepatitis (n = 4), toxic liver injury (n = 15), ischemic liver injury (n = 2), and cryptogenic liver failure (n = 4). King's college criteria were fulfilled in 85.7% of patients not recovering spontaneously and in 16.7% of patients recovering spontaneously. The mean ICG-PDR measured on day 1 in patients recovering spontaneously was 12.0 ± 7.8%/min and in patients not recovering spontaneously 4.3 ± 2.0%/min (P = 0.002). By ROC analysis the sensitivity and specificity of an ICG-PDR value ≤ 6.3%/min on study day 1 were 85.7% and 88.9%, respectively, for predicting a non spontaneous outcome in ALF.
ICG-PDR allows early and sensitive bedside assessment of liver dysfunction in ALF. Measurement of ICG-PDR might be helpful in predicting the outcome in acute liver failure.
Trial registration, NCT 00245310
PMCID: PMC2791758  PMID: 19954554
4.  Limitations of the MELD score in predicting mortality or need for removal from waiting list in patients awaiting liver transplantation 
BMC Gastroenterology  2009;9:72.
Decompensated cirrhosis is associated with a poor prognosis and liver transplantation provides the only curative treatment option with excellent long-term results. The relative shortage of organ donors renders the allocation algorithms of organs essential. The optimal strategy based on scoring systems and/or waiting time is still under debate.
Data sets of 268 consecutive patients listed for single-organ liver transplantation for nonfulminant liver disease between 2003 and 2005 were included into the study. The Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) and Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP) scores of all patients at the time of listing were used for calculation. The predictive ability not only for mortality on the waiting list but also for the need for withdrawal from the waiting list was calculated for both scores. The Mann-Whitney-U Test was used for the univariate analysis and the AUC-Model for discrimination of the scores.
In the univariate analysis comparing patients who are still on the waiting list and patients who died or were removed from the waiting list due to poor conditions, the serum albumin, bilirubin INR, and CTP and MELD scores as well as the presence of ascites and encephalopathy were significantly different between the groups (p < 0.05), whereas serum creatinine and urea showed no difference.
Comparing the predictive abilities of CTP and MELD scores, the best discrimination between patients still alive on the waiting list and patients who died on or were removed from the waiting list was achieved at a CTP score of ≥9 and a MELD score of ≥14.4. The sensitivity and specificity to identify mortality or severe deterioration for CTP was 69.0% and 70.5%, respectively; for MELD, it was 62.1% and 72.7%, respectively. This result was supported by the AUC analysis showing a strong trend for superiority of CTP over MELD scores (AUROC 0.73 and 0.68, resp.; p = 0.091).
The long term prediction of mortality or removal from waiting list in patients awaiting liver transplantation might be better assessed by the CTP score than the MELD score. This might have implications for the development of new improved scoring systems.
PMCID: PMC2760571  PMID: 19778459
5.  TNF-α-induced up-regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines is reduced by phosphatidylcholine in intestinal epithelial cells 
BMC Gastroenterology  2009;9:53.
Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is a major lipid of the gastrointestinal mucus layer. We recently showed that mucus from patients suffering from ulcerative colitis has low levels of PC. Clinical studies reveal that the therapeutic addition of PC to the colonic mucus using slow release preparations is beneficial. The positive role of PC in this disease is still unclear; however, we have recently shown that PC has an intrinsic anti-inflammatory property. It could be demonstrated that the exogenous application of PC inhibits membrane-dependent actin assembly and TNF-α-induced nuclear NF-κB activation. We investigate here in more detail the hypothesis that the exogenous application of PC has anti-inflammatory properties.
PC species with different fatty acid side chains were applied to differentiated and non-differentiated Caco-2 cells treated with TNF-α to induce a pro-inflammatory response. We analysed TNF-α-induced NF-κB-activation via the transient expression of a NF-κB-luciferase reporter system. Pro-inflammatory gene transcription was detected with the help of a quantitative real time (RT)-PCR analysis. We assessed the binding of TNF-α to its receptor by FACS and analysed lipid rafts by isolating detergent resistant membranes (DRMs).
The exogenous addition of all PC species tested significantly inhibited TNF-α-induced pro-inflammatory signalling. The expression levels of IL-8, ICAM-1, IP-10, MCP-1, TNF-α and MMP-1 were significantly reduced after PC pre-treatment for at least two hours. The effect was comparable to the inhibition of NF-kB by the NF-kB inhibitor SN 50 and was not due to a reduced binding of TNF-α to its receptor or a decreased surface expression of TNF-α receptors. PC was also effective when applied to the apical side of polarised Caco-2 cultures if cells were stimulated from the basolateral side. PC treatment changed the compartmentation of the TNF-α-receptors 1 and 2 to DRMs.
PC induces a prolonged inhibition of TNF-α-induced pro-inflammatory signalling. This inhibition may be caused by a shift of the TNF-α receptors at the surface to lipid rafts. Our results may offer a potential molecular explanation for the positive role of PC seen in clinical studies for the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
PMCID: PMC2714528  PMID: 19594939
6.  Transcript levels of different cytokines and chemokines correlate with clinical and endoscopic activity in ulcerative colitis 
BMC Gastroenterology  2009;9:13.
A definition of disease activity in ulcerative colitis (UC) is difficult. The clinical activity index (CAI) is only an indirect assessment tool of bowel inflammation and the endoscopic activity index (EAI) sometimes cannot reflect the severity of disease to the full extent. Therefore, there is a need for an objective means to quantify inflammatory activity in mucosal biopsies. In our study, we wanted to examine the correlation between transcript levels of interleukin 8 (CXCL8), interferon γ inducible protein 10 (CXCL10), myeloid-related protein 14 (calgranulin B), macrophage inflammatory protein 2 α (CXCL2) with CAI and EAI in UC.
Cytokine and chemokine transcripts were quantified using real-time PCR in 49 mucosal biopsies from 27 different patients with UC. Cytokine transcript levels were correlated with CAI and EAI.
There was a statistically significant positive correlation between CXCL8 (r = 0.30; p < 0.05), CXCL10 (r = 0.40; p < 0.02), calgranulin B (r = 0.36; p < 0.03), CXCL2 (r = 0.31; p < 0.05) and CAI. Concerning EAI significant positive correlations for CXCL8 (r = 0.37; p < 0.02), CXCL10 (r = 0.33; p < 0.04), calgranulin B (r = 0.31; p < 0.05) and CXCL2 (r = 0.44; p < 0.05) were found. Low clinical and endoscopic activity was accompanied by low cytokine levels whereas high CAI and EAI were associated with high cytokine levels.
From our data, we conclude that real-time PCR quantification of CXCL8, CXCL10, calgranulin B and CXCL2 in colonic biopsies is a simple and objective method for grading inflammation of intestinal mucosa in UC. CXCL8, CXCL10, calgranulin B and CXCL2 might be used as biomarkers and thus as an objective tool especially in clinical trials to evaluate anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory regimens.
PMCID: PMC2644704  PMID: 19203362
7.  Wilson protein expression, copper excretion and sweat production in sweat glands of Wilson disease patients and controls 
BMC Gastroenterology  2008;8:29.
In Wilson disease, copper is not sufficiently excreted into bile due to the absence or malfunction of the Wilson protein copper ATPase in the excretory pathway of hepatocytes. Copper is found in sweat. It is unknown if the Wilson protein plays a role in copper excretion into sweat. It is the aim of this study to investigate Wilson protein expression in sweat glands and analysing its effects on copper excretion into sweat in controls and patients with Wilson disease.
Immunofluorescent analysis of the Wilson protein in skin samples from normal rat, LEC rat and human skin biopsies were performed. Pilocarpin-induced sweat gland stimulation by iontophoretic transfer adapted from the methods used for cystic fibrosis sweat test was used for sweat induction. Sweat volume, sweat copper concentration, serum ceruloplasmin and serum copper were analysed in 28 Wilson patients and 21 controls.
The Wilson protein is expressed in human and rat sweat gland epithelia. Copper concentration in sweat is not significantly different between controls and Wilson patients. Wilson patients produce significantly smaller volumes of sweat compared to controls. Sweat production is partially reversible in Wilson patients under medical treatment for Wilson disease or after liver transplantation
Wilson patients show a reduced sweat production with unaltered sweat copper concentration. The Wilson protein might play an important role in physiological sweat production.
PMCID: PMC2515315  PMID: 18637198

Results 1-7 (7)