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Journal Articles Journal of Hepatology Year : 2021

Assessing the role of amino acids in systemic inflammation and organ failure in patients with ACLF

Giacomo Zaccherini
  • Function : Author
Ferran Aguilar
  • Function : Author
Paolo Caraceni
  • Function : Author
Joan Clària
  • Function : Author
Juan José Lozano
  • Function : Author
Anna Curto
  • Function : Author
Chiara Formentin
  • Function : Author
Emmanuel Weiss
  • Function : Author
Mauro Bernardi
  • Function : Author
Rajiv Jalan
  • Function : Author
Paolo Angeli
  • Function : Author
Richard Moreau
  • Function : Author
Vicente Arroyo
  • Function : Author


Background & aims: Systemic inflammation and organ failure(s) are the hallmarks of acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF), yet their pathogenesis remains uncertain. Herein, we aimed to assess the role of amino acids in these processes in patients with ACLF.Methods: The blood metabolomic database of the CANONIC study (comprising 137 metabolites, with 43% related to amino acids) - obtained in 181 patients with ACLF and 650 with acute decompensation without ACLF (AD) - was reanalyzed with a focus on amino acids, in particular 9 modules of co-regulated metabolites. We also compared blood metabolite levels between ACLF and AD.Results: The main findings in ACLF were: i) Metabolite modules were increased in parallel with increased levels of markers of systemic inflammation and oxidative stress. ii) Seventy percent of proteinogenic amino acids were present and most were increased. iii) A metabolic network, comprising the amino acids aspartate, glutamate, the serine-glycine one-carbon metabolism (folate cycle), and methionine cycle, was activated, suggesting increased purine and pyrimidine nucleotide synthesis. iv) Cystathionine, L-cystine, glutamate and pyroglutamate, which are involved in the transsulfuration pathway (a methionine cycle branch) were increased, consistent with increased synthesis of the antioxidant glutathione. v) Intermediates of the catabolism of 5 out of the 6 ketogenic amino acids were increased. vi) The levels of spermidine (a polyamine inducer of autophagy with anti-inflammatory effects) were decreased.Conclusions: In ACLF, blood amino acids fueled protein and nucleotide synthesis required for the intense systemic inflammatory response. Ketogenic amino acids were extensively catabolized to produce energy substrates in peripheral organs, an effect that was insufficient because organs failed. Finally, the decrease in spermidine levels may cause a defect in autophagy contributing to the proinflammatory phenotype in ACLF.
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hal-03351392 , version 1 (24-04-2023)


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Giacomo Zaccherini, Ferran Aguilar, Paolo Caraceni, Joan Clària, Juan José Lozano, et al.. Assessing the role of amino acids in systemic inflammation and organ failure in patients with ACLF. Journal of Hepatology, 2021, 74 (5), pp.1117-1131. ⟨10.1016/j.jhep.2020.11.035⟩. ⟨hal-03351392⟩
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