AIMS--To investigate variations in serum lipid peroxide activities in relation to various clinical entities of liver disease. METHODS--Serum lipid peroxides were measured fluorometrically in eight patients with acute hepatitis, six with liver steatofibrosis, five with chronic persistent hepatitis, 15 with chronic active hepatitis, 28 with liver cirrhosis, 22 with hepatocellular carcinoma; 19 patients with extrahepatic disease (six malignant, 13 benign) were used as controls. RESULTS--Higher serum lipid peroxide concentrations were found in patients with acute hepatitis (4.52 (SEM 0.56)) nmol/ml than in all other groups of patients (p < 0.01). No significant difference was found among the mean values detected in the groups of patients affected by chronic liver disease and extrahepatic diseases. A history of chronic alcohol consumption was not associated with higher lipid peroxide concentrations. A significant correlation (R2 = 0.4538, R = 0.6737, F = 7.617, p = 0.0000) was found between serum lipid peroxides and a set of indices of inflammation (ESR, total leucocyte count, C-reactive protein) and of hepatic function (aspartate aminotransferase (AST) or alkaline phosphatase (ALP) or bilirubin). Of these, bilirubin was the most significant indicator of inflammation. Analysis of covariance showed a significant difference in lipid peroxide values among groups, even when bilirubin was chosen as an independent variable. CONCLUSIONS--Raised serum lipid peroxide concentrations can be found during acute inflammatory liver disease. Acute change in liver function, reflected by high bilirubin concentrations, seems to be more important for intravascular liberation of lipid peroxides than existence of specific aetiological factors or of severe longstanding global liver damage.
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