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Profiling of cell-free DNA methylation and histone signatures in pediatric NAFLD: A pilot study

Vinciguerra, M (2022) Profiling of cell-free DNA methylation and histone signatures in pediatric NAFLD: A pilot study. Hepatology Communications, 6 (12). pp. 3311-3323. ISSN 2471-254X

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/hep4.2082 (Published version)


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the most common chronic liver disease in children and adolescents, increasing the risk of its progression toward nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), cirrhosis, and cancer. There is an urgent need for noninvasive early diagnostic and prognostic tools such as epigenetic marks (epimarks), which would replace liver biopsy in the future. We used plasma samples from 67 children with biopsy-proven NAFLD, and as controls we used samples from 20 children negative for steatosis by ultrasound. All patients were genotyped for patatin-like phospholipase domain containing 3 (PNPLA3), transmembrane 6 superfamily member 2 (TM6SF2), membrane bound O-acyltransferase domain containing 7 (MBOAT7), and klotho-β (KLB) gene variants, and data on anthropometric and biochemical parameters were collected. Furthermore, plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) methylation was quantified using a commercially available kit, and ImageStream(X) was used for the detection of free circulating histone complexes and variants. We found a significant enrichment of the levels of histone macroH2A1.2 in the plasma of children with NAFLD compared to controls, and a strong correlation between cfDNA methylation levels and NASH. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis demonstrated that combination of cfDNA methylation, PNPLA3 rs738409 variant, coupled with either high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or alanine aminotransferase levels can strongly predict the progression of pediatric NAFLD to NASH with area under the curve >0.87. Conclusion: Our pilot study combined epimarks and genetic and metabolic markers for a robust risk assessment of NAFLD development and progression in children, offering a promising noninvasive tool for the consistent diagnosis and prognosis of pediatric NAFLD. Further studies are necessary to identify their pathogenic origin and function.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Divisions: Nursing & Allied Health
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2022 09:21
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2022 09:30
DOI or ID number: 10.1002/hep4.2082
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18509
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