Lysosomal acid lipase activity and liver fibrosis in the clinical continuum of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Francesco Baratta, Daniele Pastori, Giulia Tozzi, Laura D'Erasmo, Alessia Di Costanzo, Marcello Arca, Evaristo Ettorre, Stefano Ginanni Corradini, Francesco Violi, Francesco Angelico, Maria Del Ben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Recent evidence showed a reduced activity of the lysosomal acid lipase (LAL) in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and cryptogenic cirrhosis (CC). However, the relationship between LAL activity and liver fibrosis has never been investigated.

METHODS: Cross-sectional study including 575 outpatients referred for the management of cardio-metabolic and liver disease. The absence of liver fibrosis was defined by a FIB-4 < 1.30 and NAFLD fibrosis score (NFS) <-1.455. LAL activity was measured with dried blood spot technique.

RESULTS: Overall, 515 patients had a diagnosis of NAFLD (454 NAFL and 61 biopsy-proven NASH) and 60 of CC. The value of LAL activity progressively decreased from healthy subjects to NAFL/NASH patients to CC (P < .001). LAL activity was reduced by 10% in patients with NAFL, by 20% in NASH and by 50% in CC. The prevalence of CC decreased across the tertiles of LAL activity: 22.2% in the lowest, 4.6% in the intermediate and 0.5% in the highest tertile. In NAFLD patients, 69.9% had a FIB4 < 1.30, and 43.1% a NFS <-1.455. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that Log (LAL activity) was associated with FIB-4 < 1.30 (Odds ratio [OR] 2.19 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.33-3.62, P = .002) and NFS < -1.455 (OR 2.43, 95% CI 1.51-3.91, P < .001) after adjustment for confounding factors.

CONCLUSIONS: We found a progressive reduction of LAL activity according to liver disease severity. LAL activity was inversely associated with markers of liver fibrosis in patients with NAFLD.


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