Published online Nov 15, 2003. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v9.i11.2490
Revised: April 1, 2003
Accepted: April 14, 2003
Published online: November 15, 2003
AIM: Noninvasive diagnosis of hepatic fibrosis has become the focus because of the limited biopsy, especially in the surveillance of treatment and in screening hepatic fibrosis. Recently, regulatory elements involved in liver fibrosis, such as platelet derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB), transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1), and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1), have been studied extensively. To determine whether these factors or enzymes could be used as the indices for the diagnosis of hepatic fibrosis, we investigated them by means of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve.
METHODS: Serum samples from sixty patients with chronic viral hepatitis B and twenty healthy blood donors were assayed to determine the level of PDGF-BB, TGF-β1, MMP-1, and TIMP-1 with ELISA, and HA, PCIII, C-IV, and LN level with RIA. The message RNA (mRNA) expression of TIMP-1 and MMP-1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was detected by RT-PCR and Northern blot hybridization. Liver biopsy was performed in all patients. The biopsy samples were histopathologically examined. The trial was double-blind controlled.
RESULTS: The serum level of PDGF-BB, TIMP-1, the ratio of TIMP-1 and MMP-1 (TIMP-1/MMP-1), mRNA expression of TIMP-1 (TIMP-1mRNA), and the ratio of TIMP-1mRNA and MMP-1mRNA (TIMP-1mRNA/MMP-1mRNA) in patients was significantly higher than those in the healthy blood donors (t = 2.514-11.435, P = 0.000-0.016). The serum level of PDGF-BB, TIMP-1, TIMP-1/MMP-1, and TIMP-1mRNA was positively correlated with fibrosis stage and inflammation grade (r = 0.239-0.565, P = 0.000-0.033), while the serum level of MMP-1 was negatively correlated with fibrosis stage and inflammation grade, and TIMP-1mRNA/MMP-1mRNA was positively correlated with inflammation grade. Through the analysis by ROC curve, serum PDGF-BB was the most valuable marker, and its sensitivity was the highest among the nine indices. The markers with the highest specificity were TIMP-1mRNA and TIMP-1mRNA/MMP-1mRNA in PBMCs. The area under the curve (AUC) of PDGF-BB, TIMP-1mRNA, TIMP-1mRNA/MMP-1mRNA, TIMP-1/MMP-1, HA, PCIII, TIMP-1, C-IV, and LN was 0.985, 0.876, 0.792, 0.748, 0.728, 0.727, 0.726, 0.583, and 0.463, respectively. The sensitivity and the specificity in the parallel test was 99.0% and 95.0% when serum PDGF-BB, TIMP-1mRNA and TIMP-1mRNA/MMP-1mRNA was detected simultaneously.
CONCLUSION: Serum level of PDGF-BB, TIMP-1mRNA, TIMP-1mRNA/MMP-1mRNA in PBMCs, and serum level of TIMP-1 and TIMP-1/MMP-1 can be used as the indices for the diagnosis of hepatic fibrosis, but the former three are more useful. The combination of serum PDGF-BB, TIMP-1mRNA and TIMP-1mRNA/MMP-1mRNA in PBMCs is even more efficient in screening liver fibrosis.