Author(s): Jiyao Wang, Pengyuan Yang, Fuchu He
Background Liver fibrosis is a middle stage in the course of chronic Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which will develop into cirrhosis and eventually hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) if not treated at the early stage. Considering the limitations and patients' reluctance to undergo liver biopsy, a reliable, noninvasive diagnostic system to predict and assess treatment and prognosis of liver fibrosis is needed. The aim of this study was to identify biomarkers for early diagnosis of HBV related liver fibrosis.
Method Plasma samples from 7 healthy volunteers and 27 HBV infected patients with different stages of fibrosis were selected for 2-DIGE proteomic screening. One-way ANOVA analysis was used to assess differences in protein expression among all groups. The alteration was further confirmed by western blotting. Plasma levels of 25 serological variables in 42 healthy volunteers and 68 patients were measured to establish a decision tree for the detection of various stages fibrosis.
Result The up-regulated proteins along with fibrosis progress included fibrinogen, collagen, macroglobulin, hemopexin, antitrypsin, prealbumin and thioredoxin peroxidase. The down-regulated proteins included haptoglobin, serotransferrin, CD5 antigen like protein, clusterin, apolipoprotein and leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein. For the discrimination of milder stage fibrosis, the area under curve for Prx II was the highest. Four variables (PT, Pre, HA and Prx II) were selected from the 25 variables to construct the decision tree. In a training group, the correct prediction percentage for normal control, milder fibrosis, significant fibrosis and early cirrhosis was 100%, 88.9%, 95.2% and 100%, respectively, with an overall correct percent of 95.9%.
Conclusion This study showed that 2-D DIGE-based proteomic analysis of the plasma was helpful in screening for new plasma biomarkers for liver disease. The significant up-expression of Prx II could be used in the early diagnosis of HBV related liver fibrosis.