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
Alcoholic 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.Methods
We 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.Results
Two 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.Conclusion
In 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.