From the Journals

Novel microbiome signature may detect NAFLD-cirrhosis



A novel fecal microbiome–derived signature could be a useful biomarker to help identify cirrhosis in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to results from a study published in Nature Communications.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease Nephron/Wikimedia/Creative Commons License

“Limited data exist concerning the diagnostic accuracy of gut microbiome–derived signatures for detecting NAFLD-cirrhosis,” wrote Cyrielle Caussy, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego, along with her colleagues.

The researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 203 patients with NAFLD. Data was collected from a twin and family cohort with a total of 98 probands that included the complete spectrum of the disease. In addition, 105 first-degree relatives of the probands were also included.

The team analyzed stool samples of participants using MRI and assessed whether the novel signature could accurately identify cirrhosis in NAFLD.

After analysis, the researchers found that in a specific cohort of probands, the microbial biomarker showed strong diagnostic accuracy for identifying cirrhosis in patients with NAFLD (area under the ROC curve, 0.92). These findings were validated in another cohort of first-degree relatives of the proband group (AUROC, 0.87).

The authors acknowledged that a key limitation of the analysis was that it was only a single-center study. As a result, the widespread generalizability of the findings could be restricted.

“This conveniently assessed microbial biomarker could present an adjunct tool to current invasive approaches to determine stage of liver disease,” they concluded.

The study was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health and Janssen. The authors reported financial affiliations with the American Gastroenterological Association, Atlantic Philanthropies, the John A. Hartford Foundation, and the Association of Specialty Professors.

SOURCE: Caussy C et al. Nat Commun. 2019 Mar 29. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09455-9.

Next Article: