An increased ammonia level of gut bacterial origin is an important mediator in the pathogenesis of hepatic encephalopathy (HE), and constipation is a frequent precipitant of hepatic coma. Because diabetes mellitus (DM) may be associated with delayed gastrointestinal transit, we speculated that its presence in patients with HCV-related cirrhosis would predispose to and exacerbate HE.
Sixty-five patients (50 men, 15 women) with HCV-related cirrhosis attending a liver transplantation clinic were assessed for severity of liver disease and presence of DM in a cross-sectional study. A modified Child-Pugh score that excluded HE was calculated. Frequency and severity of HE (absent, mild, and severe) in diabetic and nondiabetic patients were assessed. Clinical severity of cirrhosis and results of neuropsychometric testing in diabetic and nondiabetic patients with mild and severe HE were compared.
Fifty-four patients (83%) had HE (33 mild, 21 severe). Twenty patients (31%) had DM. HE was present in 19 (95%) patients with diabetes and 35 (78%) patients without diabetes (p = 0.087). Severity of HE was greater in diabetic (35% mild, 60% severe) than in nondiabetic patients (58% mild, 20% severe) (p = 0.007). In both the mild and severe HE categories, severity of liver disease in diabetic patients was otherwise milder than in the nondiabetic patients.
Diabetic patients with HCV cirrhosis have more severe HE. Diabetic patients have severe HE at earlier stages of biochemical decompensation and portal hypertension compared with nondiabetic patients.
"In DM, it has been well documented the presence of autonomic dysfunction. As a result, prolonged duodenum-cecal transit time is common and could promote small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), raising bacterial translocation rate (Sigal et al. 2006). In fact, SIBO was found in 60 % of cirrhotic patients, being related to bacterial translocation (Jun et al. 2010). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatic encephalopathy is the main cognitive dysfunction in cirrhotic patients associated with impaired prognosis. Hyperammonemia plus inflammatory response do play a crucial role on hepatic encephalopathy. However, in some patients HE appeared without hyperammonemia and patients with increased levels of ammonia could not show cognitive dysfunction. This has led to investigate other factors that could act in a synergistic way. Diabetes mellitus and insulin resistance are characterized by releasing and enhancing these pro-inflammatory cytokines and, additionally, has been related to hepatic encephalopathy. Indeed, patients with diabetes showed raised risk of over hepatic encephalopathy in comparison with non-cirrhotics. Type 2 diabetes mellitus could impair hepatic encephalopathy by different mechanisms that include: a) increasing glutaminase activity; b) impairing gut motility and promoting constipation, intestinal bacterial overgrowth and bacterial translocation. Despite of insufficient clarity about the practicability of anti-diabetic therapy and the most efficacious therapy, we would have to pay a special attention to the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus and insulin resistance in cirrhotic patients.
"Diabetes has been independently related to control of active variceal bleeding  and is associated with an increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma development . Type 2 diabetes mellitus has also been found associated with hepatic encephalopathy in patients with HCV-related cirrhosis . Insulin sensitizers, like metformin, decrease insulin secretion and reduce hyperinsulinemic state. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the influence of metformin use on liver dysfunction and hepatic encephalopathy in a retrospective cohort of diabetic cirrhotic patients. To analyze the impact of metformin on glutaminase activity and ammonia production in vitro.
Eighty-two cirrhotic patients with type 2 diabetes were included. Forty-one patients were classified as insulin sensitizers experienced (metformin) and 41 as controls (cirrhotic patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus without metformin treatment). Baseline analysis included: insulin, glucose, glucagon, leptin, adiponectin, TNFr2, AST, ALT. HOMA-IR was calculated. Baseline HE risk was calculated according to minimal hepatic encephalopathy, oral glutamine challenge and mutations in glutaminase gene. We performed an experimental study in vitro including an enzymatic activity assay where glutaminase inhibition was measured according to different metformin concentrations. In Caco2 cells, glutaminase activity inhibition was evaluated by ammonia production at 24, 48 and 72 hours after metformina treatment.
Hepatic encephalopathy was diagnosed during follow-up in 23.2% (19/82): 4.9% (2/41) in patients receiving metformin and 41.5% (17/41) in patients without metformin treatment (logRank 9.81; p = 0.002). In multivariate analysis, metformin use [H.R.11.4 (95% CI: 1.2-108.8); p = 0.034], age at diagnosis [H.R.1.12 (95% CI: 1.04-1.2); p = 0.002], female sex [H.R.10.4 (95% CI: 1.5-71.6); p = 0.017] and HE risk [H.R.21.3 (95% CI: 2.8-163.4); p = 0.003] were found independently associated with hepatic encephalopathy. In the enzymatic assay, glutaminase activity inhibition reached 68% with metformin 100 mM. In Caco2 cells, metformin (20 mM) decreased glutaminase activity up to 24% at 72 hours post-treatment (p<0.05).
Metformin was found independently related to overt hepatic encephalopathy in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and high risk of hepatic encephalopathy. Metformin inhibits glutaminase activity in vitro. Therefore, metformin use seems to be protective against hepatic encephalopathy in diabetic cirrhotic patients.
PLoS ONE 11/2012; 7(11):e49279. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0049279 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"Published data on cognitive impairment in cirrhosis due to cholestatic liver disease compared to cirrhosis due to hepatocellular disease are few and conflicting [3,4]. Recently diabetes mellitus was found to be associated with HE in hepatitis C cirrhosis  and with performance at neuropsychological cognitive testing in an unselected cirrhotic population . The prevalence of diabetes mellitus is known to vary according to the etiology of cirrhosis, being higher in patients with cirrhosis due to hepatitis C or alcoholic liver disease (hepatocellular disease) compared to patients with cirrhosis due to cholestatic liver disease . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatic encephalopathy has a negative impact on health-related quality of life (QoL) in liver cirrhosis. There are scarce and conflicting data on whether type or etiology of liver cirrhosis could be related to hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis. We aimed to determine the impact of cirrhosis etiology on hepatic encephalopathy and whether hepatic encephalopathy affects health-related QoL among patients with cirrhosis of different etiologies.
A total of 156 cirrhotic patients were prospectively evaluated for the presence of hepatic encephalopathy according to the West-Haven criteria as well as by means of two psychometric tests. Patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis or cirrhosis due to mixed hepatocellular/cholestatic etiologies were excluded. Fasting plasma glucose levels were also measured. QoL was evaluated by means of a validated questionnaire (SF-36).
Diabetes mellitus was more common in patients with hepatocellular cirrhosis compared to those with cholestatic cirrhosis but the two groups did not differ in cirrhosis severity or the prevalence of hepatic encephalopathy (p > 0.05). The groups of patients with cirrhosis due to alcohol, hepatitis C, or cholestatic liver disease did not differ in severity of liver cirrhosis or the prevalence of hepatic encephalopathy (p > 0.05). Patients with cirrhosis of different etiologies did not differ in any SF-36 domain (p > 0.05). In multivariate analysis, performance at neuropsychological testing was independently related only to age, diabetes mellitus, and the Child-Pugh score whereas the SF-36 physical component summary only to the Child-Pugh score and hepatic encephalopathy.
Cirrhosis etiology does not seem to be related to hepatic encephalopathy or health-related QoL. Cognitive impairment is associated mainly with age, liver disease severity and diabetes mellitus.
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