25 August 2020 In Liver Disease

BACKGROUND: Favorable association between modest alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease had been reported in general population, however, whether observed benefit extend to men with established fatty liver disease remains unknown.

METHODS: Cross-sectional study of 10,581 consecutive male participants aged 30 years or older undergoing abdominal ultrasonography and carotid artery ultrasonography were screened. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) was diagnosed with ultrasonography and exclusion of secondary causes for fat accumulation or other causes of chronic liver disease. Modest alcohol use was defined as consumption of less than 20 g of alcohol per day.

RESULTS: There were total 2280 men diagnosed with fatty liver, and the mean age was 51.8 years old. Among them, 1797 were modest alcohol drinkers. The prevalence of carotid plaques (55.3% vs. 43.4%, p < 0.001) and carotid artery stenosis (11.0% vs. 5.5%, p < 0.001) was higher in non-drinkers than modest drinkers. Modest alcohol consumption had the independent inverse association with carotid plaques [odd ratio (OR): 0.74, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.60-0.92] and carotid artery stenosis (OR: 0.62, 95% CI: 0.43-0.90), adjusted for age, smoking and metabolic syndrome.

CONCLUSIONS: Modest alcohol consumption had a favorable association with carotid plaque or CAS in men with NAFLD

25 August 2020 In Liver Disease

BACKGROUND: Alcohol-related liver disease is the leading indication for liver transplantation in the USA. After remaining stable for over three decades, the number of deaths due to alcohol-related liver disease has been increasing as a result of increased high-risk drinking. We aimed to project trends in alcohol-related cirrhosis and deaths in the USA up to 2040 and assess the effect of potential changes in alcohol consumption on those trends.

METHODS: In this modelling study, we developed a multicohort state-transition (Markov) model of high-risk alcohol drinking patterns and alcohol-related liver disease in high-risk drinking populations born in 1900-2016 in the USA projected up to 2040. We used data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, US National Death Index, National Vital Statistics System, and published studies. We modelled trends in alcohol-related liver disease under three projected scenarios: the status quo scenario, in which current trends continued; a moderate intervention scenario, in which trends in high-risk drinking reduced to 2001 levels under some hypothetical moderate intervention; and a strong intervention, in which trends in high-risk drinking decreased by 3.5% per year under some hypothetical strong intervention. The primary outcome was to project deaths associated with alcohol-related liver disease from 2019 to 2040 for each pattern of alcohol consumption under the different scenarios.

FINDINGS: Our model closely reproduced the observed trends in deaths due to alcohol-related liver disease from 2005 to 2018. Under the status quo scenario, age-standardised deaths due to alcohol-related liver disease are expected to increase from 8.23 (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 7.92-9.29) per 100 000 person-years in 2019 to 15.20 (13.93-16.19) per 100 000 person-years in 2040, and from 2019 to 2040, 1 003 400 (95% CI 896 800-1 036 200) people are projected to die from alcohol-related liver disease, resulting in 1 128 400 (1 113 200-1 308 400) DALYs by 2040. Under the moderate intervention scenario, age-standardised deaths due to alcohol-related liver disease would increase to 14.49 (95% UI 12.55-14.57) per 100 000 person-years by 2040, with 968 100 (95% UI 845 600-975 900) individuals projected to die between 2019 and 2040-35 300 fewer deaths than under the status quo scenario (a 3.5% decrease). Whereas, under the strong intervention scenario, age-standardised deaths due to alcohol-related liver disease would peak at 8.65 (95% UI 8.12-9.51) per 100 000 person-years in 2024 and decrease to 7.60 (6.96-8.10) per 100 000 person-years in 2040, with 704 300 (95% CI 632 700-731 500) individuals projected to die from alcohol-related liver disease in the USA between 2019 and 2040-299 100 fewer deaths than under the status quo scenario (a 29.8% decrease).

INTERPRETATION: Without substantial changes in drinking culture or interventions to address high-risk drinking, the disease burden and deaths due to alcohol-related liver disease will worsen in the USA. Additional interventions are urgently needed to reduce mortality and morbidity associated with alcohol-related liver disease.

FUNDING: American Cancer Society and the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Research Fellowship.

25 August 2020 In Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic consequence of metabolic syndrome, which often also includes obesity, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. The connection between gut microbiota (GM) and NAFLD has attracted significant attention in recent years.

Data has shown that GM affects hepatic lipid metabolism and influences the balance between pro/anti-inflammatory effectors in the liver. Although studies reveal the association between GM dysbiosis and NAFLD, decoding the mechanisms of gut dysbiosis resulting in NAFLD remains challenging. The potential pathophysiology that links GM dysbiosis to NAFLD can be summarized as: (1) disrupting the balance between energy harvest and expenditure, (2) promoting hepatic inflammation (impairing intestinal integrity, facilitating endotoxemia, and initiating inflammatory cascades with cytokines releasing), and (3) altered biochemistry metabolism and GM-related metabolites (i.e., bile acid, short-chain fatty acids, aromatic amino acid derivatives, branched-chain amino acids, choline, ethanol).

Due to the hypothesis that probiotics/synbiotics could normalize GM and reverse dysbiosis, there have been efforts to investigate the therapeutic effect of probiotics/synbiotics in patients with NAFLD. Recent randomized clinical trials suggest that probiotics/synbiotics could improve transaminases, hepatic steatosis, and reduce hepatic inflammation.

Despite these promising results, future studies are necessary to understand the full role GM plays in NAFLD development and progression. Additionally, further data is needed to unravel probiotics/synbiotics efficacy, safety, and sustainability as a novel pharmacologic approaches to NAFLD.

25 August 2020 In Liver Disease

OBJECTIVES: To systematically summarize the risk relationship between different levels of alcohol consumption and incidence of liver cirrhosis.

METHODS: MEDLINE and Embase were searched up to March 6, 2019, to identify case-control and cohort studies with sex-specific results and more than 2 categories of drinking in relation to the incidence of liver cirrhosis. Study characteristics were extracted and random-effects meta-analyses and meta-regressions were conducted.

RESULTS: A total of 7 cohort studies and 2 case-control studies met the inclusion criteria, providing data from 2,629,272 participants with 5,505 cases of liver cirrhosis. There was no increased risk for occasional drinkers. Consumption of one drink per day in comparison to long-term abstainers showed an increased risk for liver cirrhosis in women, but not in men. The risk for women was consistently higher compared to men. Drinking >/=5 drinks per day was associated with a substantially increased risk in both women (relative risk [RR] = 12.44, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.65-23.27 for 5-6 drinks, and RR = 24.58, 95% CI: 14.77-40.90 for >/=7 drinks) and men (RR = 3.80, 95% CI: 0.85-17.02, and RR = 6.93, 95% CI: 1.07-44.99, respectively). Heterogeneity across studies indicated an additional impact of other risk factors.

DISCUSSION: Alcohol is a major risk factor for liver cirrhosis with risk increasing exponentially. Women may be at higher risk compared to men even with little alcohol consumption. More high-quality research is necessary to elucidate the role of other risk factors, such as genetic vulnerability, body weight, metabolic risk factors, and drinking patterns over the life course. High alcohol consumption should be avoided, and people drinking at high levels should receive interventions to reduce their intake.

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