Both α-1-antitrypsin Z phenotypes and low caeruloplasmin levels are over-represented in alcohol and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease cirrhotic patients undergoing liver transplant in Ireland

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ObjectivesAlcoholic liver disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are steatotic liver diseases and major causes of cirrhosis. Only a minority of patients with risk factors develop cirrhosis and genetic cofactors may be important in pathogenesis. Mutations in the Wilson’s and α-1-antitrypsin genes are not uncommon and we speculated that they may act as cofactors.MethodsWe investigated α-1-antitrypsin phenotyes and caeruloplasmin levels in patients undergoing elective liver transplantation. We compared patients with alcohol and NAFLD with nonsteatotic liver disease patients: viral hepatitis B or C, autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cholangitis and primary sclerosing cholangitis.ResultsTwo hundred and thirty-one patients were included in the study. Pretransplant caeruloplasmin levels and α-1-antitrypsin phenotypes were available in 197 and 112 patients, respectively. α-1-Antitrypsin Z phenotypes were significantly more common in the alcohol and NAFLD group: 12/56 versus 3/56 (P<0.05). Serum caeruloplasmin (0.3±0.01 vs. 0.39±0.01 g/l, P<0.01) and serum copper levels (13.5±0.9 vs. 19.3±0.9 μmol/l, P<0.01) were significantly lower in the alcohol and NAFLD patients compared with the viral and autoimmune patients.ConclusionIn this study, we found the α-1-antitrypsin Z phenotype was more common, and serum caeruloplasmin and copper levels were lower in patients with fatty liver diseases. We suggest that mutations in the α-1-antitrypsin and Wilson’s genes may act as cofactors in the pathogenesis of fatty liver diseases.

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