Long-Term Alcohol Use In Hepatitis Patients Associated With Protein Dysregulation, Study Shows

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Researchers have established that the blood proteins of patients with alcohol-associated hepatitis are more dysregulated compared to other blood plasma.

Researchers find dysregulation in blood protein of hepatitis patients

Biochemist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Department of Energy Jon Jacobs and his colleagues evaluated protein activity in the blood of the patients and found almost two-thirds of the proteins were unusually at high levels. Jacobs said that the finding is a snapshot of what happens in the body of someone with the disease and shows how severe the disease is.

The assessment, referred to as a “snapshot”, determines alterations in proteins among individuals afflicted with the condition. The exclusive amalgamation of protein activity modifications signifies a crucial progression in the creation of an uncomplicated blood examination to detect alcohol-related hepatitis.

Jacobs and a gastroenterologist at VA Long Beach are the corresponding authors for the study published in the American Journal of Pathology. According to Morgan, the findings are not surprising because the individuals are sick.

This particular liver disease, alcohol-associated hepatitis, is notably more severe than other alcohol-induced liver diseases, such as fatty liver and liver cirrhosis. An alarming statistic reveals that 10% of individuals diagnosed with alcohol-associated hepatitis succumb to the disease within the first month, while 25% die within six months. These patients are typically in the advanced stages of a condition that has been developing over a prolonged period.

Development of blood biomarkers for alcohol-related hepatitis

According to Morgan, the research represents a significant advance in the development of a blood-based biomarker for alcohol-related hepatitis. A diagnostic blood test would offer a faster, safer, more accurate, and less expensive alternative to the difficult and costly process of diagnosing AH, which can sometimes take several days and require a liver biopsy.

The team is currently investigating whether the protein changes identified in the study could be used to monitor patients’ responses to treatment. Although doctors often use steroids to reduce inflammation, this treatment can leave patients susceptible to infection. Further studies are ongoing to understand the protein changes.

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