Clinical correlates of histopathology in pediatric nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Division of Gastroenterology, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California 92103, USA.
Gastroenterology (Impact Factor: 12.82). 09/2008; 135(6):1961-1971.e2. DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2008.08.050
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most prevalent liver disease in American children. Noninvasive means to discriminate between NAFLD and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) might diminish the requirement for liver biopsy or predict those at increased risk for progression.
Data obtained prospectively from children (age, 6-17 y) enrolled in the NASH Clinical Research Network were analyzed to identify clinical-pathologic correlates of pediatric NAFLD. All participants underwent liver biopsy within 6 months of clinical data that were reviewed by a central pathology committee.
A total of 176 children (mean age, 12.4 y; 77% male) were eligible for inclusion. By using ordinal logistic regression analysis, increasing aspartate aminotransferase (AST) level (odds ratio [OR], 1.017 per U/L; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.004-1.031) and gamma-glutamyltransferase level (OR, 1.016 per U/L; 95% CI, 1.000-1.033) were associated independently with increasing severity of NASH. Increasing AST level (OR, 1.015 per U/L; 95% CI, 1.006-1.024), increasing white blood cell count (OR, 1.22 per 1000/mm(3); 95% CI, 1.07-1.38), and decreasing hematocrit (OR, 0.87 per %; 95% CI, 0.79-0.96) were associated independently with increasing severity of fibrosis. Area under the receiver operator characteristic curve for a model with AST and alanine aminotransferase was 0.75 (95% CI, 0.66-0.84) and 0.74 (95% CI, 0.63-0.85) for distinguishing steatosis from more advanced forms of NASH and bridging fibrosis from lesser degrees of fibrosis, respectively.
Certain components of routine laboratory tests are predictive of NAFLD pattern and fibrosis severity, but do not have adequate discriminate power to replace liver biopsy in evaluating pediatric NAFLD.

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    ABSTRACT: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), defined as abnormal accumulation (> 5%) of hepatic triglyceride without excess alcohol intake, is the most common form of chronic liver disease in adults and children in the United States. NAFLD encompasses a spectrum of histologic findings including uncomplicated steatosis, steatosis with inflammation and steatohepatitis [nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)]; the latter can advance to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. NASH is currently accepted as the hepatic manifestation of the set of cardiovascular risk factors collectively known as metabolic syndrome. In 1999 a system for histologic grading and staging for NASH was proposed; this was revised by the NASH Clinical Research Network in 2005 for the entire spectrum of lesions in NAFLD, including the lesions and patterns of pediatric NAFLD, and for application in clinical research trials. Diagnosis remains distinct from grade and stage. A recent European proposal separates steatosis from activity to derive a numeric diagnosis of NASH. Even though there have been promising advancements in non-invasive testing, these tests are not yet detailed enough to replace the full range of findings provided by liver biopsy evaluation. Limitations of biopsy are acknowledged, but liver biopsy remains the "gold standard" for diagnosis and determination of amounts of necroinflammatory activity, and location of fibrosis, as well as remodeling of the parenchyma in NASH. This review focuses on the specific histologic lesions of NAFLD and NASH, grading and staging, differential diagnoses to be considered, and the continuing role of the liver biopsy in this important liver disease.
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    ABSTRACT: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome, is the most common chronic liver disease, and the prevalence is rapidly increasing worldwide. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the severe form of NAFLD, can progress to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Although noninvasive clinical scores and image-based diagnosis for NAFLD have improved, histopathological evaluation of biopsy specimens remains the gold standard for diagnosing NAFLD/NASH. Steatosis, lobular inflammation, and hepatocellular ballooning are all necessary components for the diagnosis of NASH; fibrosis is also typically observed. Other histopathological abnormalities commonly observed in NASH include hepatocellular glycogenated nuclei, lipogranulomas, and acidophil bodies. The characteristics of pediatric NAFLD/NASH differ from adult NAFLD/NASH. Specifically, steatosis and portal inflammation are more severe in pediatric NAFLD, while intralobular inflammation and perisinusoidal fibrosis are milder. Although interobserver agreement for evaluating the extent of steatosis and fibrosis is high, agreement is low for intralobular and portal inflammation. A recently reported histological variant of HCC, steatohepatitic HCC (SH-HCC), shows features that resemble non-neoplastic steatohepatitis, and is thought to be strongly associated with underlying NASH. In this report, we review the histopathological features of NAFLD/NASH.
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