Definitive diagnosis of hepatic sinusoidal obstruction syndrome induced by pyrrolizidine alkaloids

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OBJECTIVE:Hepatic sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (HSOS) induced by a Chinese medicinal herb Tusanqi is increasingly being reported in recent years. The aim of the study was to investigate the possibility of using blood pyrrole-protein adducts test as a confirmatory diagnostic method.METHODS:Patients with HSOS according to international diagnostic criteria associated with Tusanqi from January 2006 to August 2010 in Zhongshan Hospital Fudan University were included and clinical features were collected. Pyrrole-protein adducts in blood sample were determined with ultra performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) while pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) in available herbal preparations were analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography-ultraviolet (HPLC-UV).RESULTS:Five patients (age 41–72 years, median age 54 years, all women) were included. Ascites (5/5), jaundice (5/5) and hepatomegaly (4/5) were common manifestations. The imaging features were diffused, patchy hepatic enhancement, periportal edema and ascites. Pathology ascertained that blood flow was obstructive at the site of sinusoid. PAs (Seneionine and seneciphylline) were identified in all the three available herbal preparations ingested by the HSOS patients. Pyrrole-protein adducts were unequivocally found in all the five blood samples. Two patients recovered, two developed chronic illness and one died due to liver failure and hepatic encephalopathy.CONCLUSIONS:The detection of blood pyrrole-protein adducts using a UPLC-MS approach is a specific, reliable, unambiguous and confirmatory test for HSOS induced by PA, and should be used together with the conventional HSOS clinical diagnostic criteria for the definitive diagnosis of PA-induced HSOS.

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