Year 2019 / Volume 111 / Number 4
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Year 2019 / Volume 111 / Number 4


Association between thymosin beta4 and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease


Yong Jiang, Ying Zhang, Cui-Hua Ma, Zhi-Guang Zhang, Man Li, Ying-Lan Ji, Feng-Xiang Qi,

Background and aims: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common type of chronic liver injury worldwide. Some studies have shown that thymosin beta4 (Tβ4) is closely related to liver diseases. Nevertheless, only a few published studies have reported the relationship between Tβ4 and NAFLD. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the levels of Tβ4 in patients with NAFLD compared with controls and to validate their relationship in a larger cohort. Patients and methods: a total of 76 NAFLD patients and 130 healthy controls were included in the study. Serum levels of Tβ4, IL-6 and adiponectin were determined by ELISA. Serum glucose, insulin and lipids, as well as liver function were measured. Multivariate statistical analyses were performed via logistic regression modelling to determine the predictors with a significant relevance to NAFLD. The association between serum Tβ4 and study variables was tested using correlation coefficients calculations. Results: serum Tβ4 content was 3.20 ± 0.98 mg/l in NAFLD patients (n = 76) and 5.53 ± 1.24 mg/l in healthy controls (n = 130); the difference between the two groups was statistically significant (p = 0.000). Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified Tβ4 (OR = 0.343, 95% CI 0.240-0.491, p < 0.001), LDL (OR = 1.019, 95% CI 1.007-1.030, p = 0.001), ALT (OR = 1.021, 95% CI 1.001-1.041, p = 0.040) and IL-6 (OR = 1.443, 95% CI 1.079-1.929, p = 0.013) as independent predictors of NAFLD diagnosis. Serum Tβ4 levels had a significant negative correlation with total cholesterol, TG, AST, GGT and IL-6 (p < 0.05 for all) and the correlation coefficient values were -0.163, -0.253, -0.143, -0.245 and -0.155, respectively. Serum Tβ4 levels were positively correlated with serum adiponectin levels, with a correlation coefficient value of 0.143. Conclusion: serum Tβ4 may play a defensive role in the development of NAFLD. Further studies are needed to confirm the role of Tβ4 in NAFLD.

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The Spanish Journal of Gastroenterology is the official organ of the Sociedad Española de Patología Digestiva, the Sociedad Española de Endoscopia Digestiva and the Asociación Española de Ecografía Digestiva
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