Liver fibrosis is characterised as an excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) within parenchyma observed in most types of chronic liver disorders. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a glycosaminoglycan component of the ECM produced by hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), in human medicine considered to be the best individual test reflecting ECM synthesis. TGF-β1 is the major mediator in fibrogenesis, also used as a marker of liver fibrosis in human medicine.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the utility of serum HA and TGF-β1 concentrations using ELISA for the noninvasive evaluation of liver fibrosis.
Serum samples from 41 healthy dogs and 40 patients histologically diagnosed with liver disease were used. The latter group was divided into 4 subgroups: 1. vascular disorders (n=12), 2. parenchymal diseases (a. mild and significant fibrosis, n=5; b. advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis, n=5), 3. neoplasia (n=10), 4. biliary tract disorders (n=8).
A Kruskal-Wallis test followed by Dunn’s post hoc test were performed to compare HA and TGF-β1 concentrations between groups. HA concentration was significantly increased in patients of subgroups 1 and 2b. By using cut-off values 135.94 mg/I, the sensitivity and specificity for diagnosis of advanced liver fibrosis/cirrhosis were 100% and 90.8%, respectively. TGF-β1 levels did not significantly differ among groups. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05.
The present results suggest that increased serum HA concentration is a potential noninvasive marker for canine liver cirrhosis.
Financial support was provided by IGA VFU Brno 129/2016/FVL.