[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
To test the hypothesis that children with chronic hepatitis B living in the US and Canada would have international origins and characteristic hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes and laboratory profiles.
Clinical characteristics of children enrolled in the Hepatitis B Research Network were collected from 7 US and Canadian centers.
Children (n = 343) with an age range of 1.0-17.8 years were enrolled; 78% of the children were Asian, 55% were adopted, and 97% had international origins with either the child or a parent born in 1 of 31 countries. The majority had HBV genotype B (43%) or C (32%), and the remainder had genotype A (5%), D (16%), E (4%), or multiple (<1%). Children with genotype B or C were more likely to be Asian (98% and 96%), more consistently hepatitis B envelope antigen positive (95% and 82%), had higher median HBV DNA levels (8.2 and 8.3 log10 IU/mL), and less frequently had elevated alanine aminotransferase values (43% and 57%) compared with children with other genotypes. The percentage of hepatitis B envelope antigen positivity and of those with HBV DNA ≥6 log10 IU/mL declined with age.
The majority of children in the Hepatitis B Research Network have HBV genotypes that reflect their international origins. Clinical and laboratory data differ substantially by patient age and HBV genotype. Use of these data can help drive the development of optimal strategies to manage and treat children with chronic hepatitis B.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · The Journal of pediatrics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:: Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (A1AT) is a common genetic disease with unpredictable and highly variable course. The Childhood Liver Disease Research and Education Network (ChiLDREN) is an NIH, multi-center, longitudinal consortium studying pediatric liver diseases, with the objective of prospectively defining natural history and identifying disease modifiers.
METHODS:: Longitudinal, cohort study of A1AT patients birth through 25 years diagnosed with liver disease, type PIZZ or PISZ. Medical history, physical exam, laboratory, imaging, and standardized survey tool data were collected during the provision of standard of care.
RESULTS:: In this report of the cohort at baseline, 269 subjects were enrolled between Nov. 2008 and Oct. 2012 (208 with their native livers and 61 post-liver transplant). Subjects with mild disease (native livers and no portal hypertension [PHT]) compared to severe disease (with PHT or post-liver transplant) were not different in age at presentation. 57% of subjects with mild disease and 76% with severe disease were jaundiced at presentation (P = 0.0024). 29% of subjects with native livers had PHT, but age at diagnosis and growth were not different between the no PHT and PHT groups (P > 0.05). Subjects with native livers and PHT were more likely to have elevated bilirubin, ALT, AST, INR, and GGTP than the no PHT group (P << 0.001), but overlap was large. Chemistries alone could not identify PHT.
CONCLUSION:: Many A1AT subjects presenting with elevated liver tests and jaundice improve spontaneously. Subjects with PHT have few symptoms and normal growth. Longitudinal cohort follow up will identify genetic and environmental disease modifiers. NCT00571272.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fat-soluble vitamin (FSV) deficiency is a well-recognized consequence of cholestatic liver disease and reduced intestinal intraluminal bile acid. We hypothesized that serum bile acid (SBA) would predict biochemical FSV deficiency better than serum total bilirubin (TB) level in infants with biliary atresia.
Infants enrolled in the Trial of Corticosteroid Therapy in Infants with Biliary Atresia after hepatoportoenterostomy were the subjects of this investigation. Infants received standardized FSV supplementation and monitoring of TB, SBA, and vitamin levels at 1, 3, and 6 months. A logistic regression model was used with the binary indicator variable insufficient/sufficient as the outcome variable. Linear and nonparametric correlations were made between specific vitamin measurement levels and either TB or SBA.
The degree of correlation for any particular vitamin at a specific time point was higher with TB than with SBA (higher for TB in 31 circumstances vs 3 circumstances for SBA). Receiver operating characteristic curve shows that TB performed better than SBA (area under the curve 0.998 vs 0.821). Including both TB and SBA did not perform better than TB alone (area under the curve 0.998).
We found that TB was a better predictor of FSV deficiency than SBA in infants with biliary atresia. The role of SBA as a surrogate marker of FSV deficiency in other cholestatic liver diseases, such as progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, α-1-antitrypsin deficiency, and Alagille syndrome in which the pathophysiology is dominated by intrahepatic cholestasis, warrants further study.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Accumulation of aggregation-prone human alpha 1 antitrypsin mutant Z (AT-Z) protein in PiZ mouse liver stimulates features of liver injury typical of human alpha 1 antitrypsin type ZZ deficiency, an autosomal recessive genetic disorder. Ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis by the 26S proteasome counteracts AT-Z accumulation and plays other roles that, when inhibited, could exacerbate the injury. However, it is unknown how the conditions of AT-Z mediated liver injury affect the 26S proteasome. To address this question, we developed a rapid extraction strategy that preserves polyubiquitin conjugates in the presence of catalytically active 26S proteasomes and allows their separation from deposits of insoluble AT-Z. Compared to WT, PiZ extracts had about 4-fold more polyubiquitin conjugates with no apparent change in the levels of the 26S and 20S proteasomes, and unassembled subunits. The polyubiquitin conjugates had similar affinities to ubiquitin-binding domain of Psmd4 and co-purified with similar amounts of catalytically active 26S complexes. These data show that polyubiquitin conjugates were accumulating despite normal recruitment to catalytically active 26S proteasomes that were available in excess, and suggest that a defect at the 26S proteasome other than compromised binding to polyubiquitin chain or peptidase activity played a role in the accumulation. In support of this idea, PiZ extracts were characterized by high molecular weight, reduction-sensitive forms of selected subunits, including ATPase subunits that unfold substrates and regulate access to proteolytic core. Older WT mice acquired similar alterations, implying that they result from common aspects of oxidative stress. The changes were most pronounced on unassembled subunits, but some subunits were altered even in the 26S proteasomes co-purified with polyubiquitin conjugates. Thus, AT-Z protein aggregates indirectly impair degradation of polyubiquitinated proteins at the level of the 26S proteasome, possibly by inducing oxidative stress-mediated modifications that compromise substrate delivery to proteolytic core.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: α-1-Antitrypsin (α1AT) is a serum glycoprotein synthesized in the liver. The majority of patients with α1AT deficiency liver disease are homozygous for the Z mutant of α1AT (called ZZ or 'PIZZ'). This mutant gene directs the synthesis of an abnormal protein which folds improperly during biogenesis. Most of these mutant Z protein molecules undergo proteolysis; however, some of the mutant protein accumulates in hepatocytes. Hepatocytes with the largest mutant protein burdens undergo apoptosis, causing compensatory hepatic proliferation. Cycles of hepatocyte injury, cell death and compensatory proliferation results in liver disease ranging from mild asymptomatic enzyme elevations to hepatic fibrosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. There is a high variability in clinical disease presentation suggesting that environmental and genetic modifiers are important. Management of α1AT liver disease is based on standard supportive care and liver transplant. However, increased understanding of the cellular mechanisms of liver injury has led to new clinical trials.
No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Expert Review of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alpha-1-antitrypsin (a1AT) deficiency is a common, but under-diagnosed, genetic disease. In the classical form, patients are homozygous for the Z mutant of the a1AT gene (called ZZ or PIZZ), which occurs in 1 in 2,000-3,500 births. The mutant Z gene directs the synthesis of large quantities of the mutant Z protein in the liver, which folds abnormally during biogenesis and accumulates intracellularly, rather than being efficiently secreted. The accumulation mutant Z protein within hepatocytes causes liver injury, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma via a cascade of chronic hepatocellular apoptosis, regeneration, and end organ injury. There is no specific treatment for a1AT-associated liver disease, other than standard supportive care and transplantation. There is high variability in the clinical manifestations among ZZ homozygous patients, suggesting a strong influence of genetic and environmental modifiers. New insights into the biological mechanisms of intracellular injury have led to new, rational therapeutic approaches.
No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Current Gastroenterology Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Alpha-1 Foundation convened a workshop to consider the appropriateness of newborn screening for alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency.
A review of natural history and technical data was conducted.
Homozygous ZZ Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) Deficiency is a common genetic disease occurring in 1 in 2,000-3,500 births. However, it is under recognized and most patients are undiagnosed. AAT deficiency can cause chronic liver disease, cirrhosis and liver failure in children and adults, and lung disease in adults. The clinical course is highly variable. Some neonates present with cholestatic hepatitis and some children require liver transplantation, but many patients remain well into adulthood. Some adults develop emphysema. There is no treatment for AAT liver disease, other than supportive care and liver transplant. There are no data on the effect of early diagnosis on liver disease. Avoidance of smoking is of proven benefit to reduce future lung disease, as is protein replacement therapy. Justifying newborn screening with the aim of reducing smoking and reducing adult lung disease years in the future would be a significant paradigm shift for the screening field. Recent passage of the "GINA" genetic non-discrimination act, and the Affordable Care Act may have a major impact on reducing psychosocial and financial risks of newborn screening, since many asymptomatic children would be identified. Data on the risk benefit ratio of screening in the new legal climate is lacking.
Workshop participants recommended a series of pilot studies focused on generating new data on the risks and benefits of newborn screening.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) hold great promise for studies on disease-related developmental processes and may serve as an autologous cell source for future treatment of many hereditary diseases. New genetic engineering tools such as zinc finger nucleases and transcription activator-like effector nuclease allow targeted correction of monogenetic disorders but are very cumbersome to establish. Aiming at studies on the knockdown of a disease-causing gene, lentiviral vector-mediated expression of short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) is a valuable option, but it is limited by silencing of the knockdown construct upon epigenetic remodeling during differentiation. Here, we propose an approach for the expression of a therapeutic shRNA in disease-specific iPSCs using third-generation lentiviral vectors. Targeting severe α-1-antitrypsin (A1AT) deficiency, we overexpressed a human microRNA 30 (miR30)-styled shRNA directed against the PiZ variant of A1AT, which is known to cause chronic liver damage in affected patients. This knockdown cassette is traceable from clonal iPSC lines to differentiated hepatic progeny via an enhanced green fluorescence protein reporter expressed from the same RNA-polymerase II promoter. Importantly, the cytomegalovirus i/e enhancer chicken β actin (CAG) promoter-driven expression of this construct is sustained without transgene silencing during hepatic differentiation in vitro and in vivo. At low lentiviral copy numbers per genome we confirmed a functional relevant reduction (-66%) of intracellular PiZ protein in hepatic cells after differentiation of patient-specific iPSCs. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that lentiviral vector-mediated expression of shRNAs can be efficiently used to knock down and functionally evaluate disease-related genes in patient-specific iPSCs.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · STEM CELLS TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alpha-1 antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD) is a common, but under recognized metabolic genetic disease. Although many mutations in the alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) gene are described, the Z variant is the allele overwhelmingly associated with liver disease. PI*ZZ homozygotes occur in approximately 1 in 2,000-5,000 births in North American and European populations. The AAT protein is synthesized in large quantities by the liver, and then secreted into serum. Its physiologic function is to inhibit neutrophil proteases in order to protect host tissues from non-specific injury during periods of inflammation. The mutant Z gene of AAT directs the synthesis of a mutant protein which folds abnormally during biogenesis in the endoplasmic reticulum of hepatocytes and is retained intracellularly, rather than efficiently secreted. Intracellular proteolysis pathways, including the proteasome and autophagy, are activated as a response to the intracellular burden of misfolded protein. The lack of circulating anti-protease activity leaves the lung vulnerable to injury and the development of emphysema. The intracellular accumulation of AAT mutant Z protein within hepatocytes can cause liver injury, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma by triggering a cascade of chronic hepatocellular apoptosis, regeneration, and end organ injury. There is no specific treatment for PI*ZZ associated liver disease, other than standard liver supportive care and liver transplantation. There is a high degree of variability in the clinical manifestations among PI*ZZ homozygous patients, suggesting a strong influence of as yet poorly characterized, genetic and environmental disease modifiers. Studies of the processes of intracellular injury have led to a new era of rational therapeutic development.
Preview · Article · Mar 2013 · COPD Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alpha-1-anti-trypsin deficiency is the most common genetic cause of liver disease in children and liver transplantation is currently the only available treatment. Enhancement of liver autophagy increases degradation of mutant, hepatotoxic alpha-1-anti-trypsin (ATZ). We investigated the therapeutic potential of liver-directed gene transfer of transcription factor EB (TFEB), a master gene that regulates lysosomal function and autophagy, in PiZ transgenic mice, recapitulating the human hepatic disease. Hepatocyte TFEB gene transfer resulted in dramatic reduction of hepatic ATZ, liver apoptosis and fibrosis, which are key features of alpha-1-anti-trypsin deficiency. Correction of the liver phenotype resulted from increased ATZ polymer degradation mediated by enhancement of autophagy flux and reduced ATZ monomer by decreased hepatic NFκB activation and IL-6 that drives ATZ gene expression. In conclusion, TFEB gene transfer is a novel strategy for treatment of liver disease of alpha-1-anti-trypsin deficiency. This study may pave the way towards applications of TFEB gene transfer for treatment of a wide spectrum of human disorders due to intracellular accumulation of toxic proteins.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · EMBO Molecular Medicine