The Association of Genetic Variability in Patatin-Like Phospholipase Domain-Containing Protein 3 (PNPLA3) with Histological Severity of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Liver Diseases Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-1800, USA.
Hepatology (Impact Factor: 11.19). 09/2010; 52(3):894-903. DOI: 10.1002/hep.23759
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Genome-wide association studies identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are associated with increased hepatic fat or elevated liver enzymes, presumably reflecting nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). To investigate whether these SNPs are associated with histological severity of NAFLD, 1117 (894 adults/223 children) individuals enrolled in the Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) Clinical Research Network and National Institutes of Health Clinical Center studies with histologically confirmed NAFLD were genotyped for six SNPs that are associated with hepatic fat or liver enzymes in genome-wide association studies. In adults, three SNPs on chromosome 22 showed associations with histological parameters of NASH. After adjustment for age, sex, diabetes, and alcohol consumption, the minor allele of rs738409 C/G, a nonsynonymous coding SNP in the patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing protein 3 (PNPLA3) (adiponutrin) gene encoding an Ile148Met change, was associated with steatosis (P = 0.03), portal inflammation (P = 2.5 x 10(-4)), lobular inflammation (P = 0.005), Mallory-Denk bodies (P = 0.015), NAFLD activity score (NAS, P = 0.004), and fibrosis (P = 7.7 x 10(-6)). Two other SNPs in the same region demonstrated similar associations. Three SNPs on chromosome 10 near the CHUK (conserved helix-loop-helix ubiquitous kinase) gene were independently associated with fibrosis (P = 0.010). In children, no SNP was associated with histological severity. However, the rs738409 G allele was associated with younger age at the time of biopsy in multivariate analysis (P = 0.045). CONCLUSION: In this large cohort of histologically proven NAFLD, we confirm the association of the rs738409 G allele with steatosis and describe its association with histological severity. In pediatric patients, the high-risk rs738409 G allele is associated with an earlier presentation of disease. We also describe a hitherto unknown association between SNPs at a chromosome 10 locus and the severity of NASH fibrosis.

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    ABSTRACT: Patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing 3 (PNPLA3 or adiponutrin) displays anabolic and catabolic activities in lipid metabolism, and has been reported to be significantly associated with liver fat content. Various studies have established a strong link between the 148 isoleucine to methionine protein variant (I148M) of PNPLA3 and liver diseases, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, detailed demographic and ethnic characteristics of the I148M variant and its role in the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver fibrosis have not been fully elucidated. The present review summarizes the current knowledge on the association between the PNPLA3 I148M variant and NAFLD, and especially its role in the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver fibrosis. First, we analyze the impact of demographic and ethnic characteristics of the PNPLA3 I148M variant and the presence of metabolic syndrome on the association between PNPLA3 I148M and NAFLD. Then, we explore the role of the PNPLA3 I148M in the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver fibrosis, and hypothesize the underlying mechanisms by speculating a pro-fibrogenic network. Finally, we briefly highlight future research that may elucidate the specific mechanisms of the PNPLA3 I148M variant in fibrogenesis, which, in turn, provides a theoretical foundation and valuable experimental data for the clinical management of nonalcoholic fatty liver fibrosis.
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