World journal of gastroenterology 24(12) 1312-1320 doi 10.3748/wjg.v24.i12.1312
To investigate whether serum interleukin (IL)-34 levels are correlated with hepatic inflammation and fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.
In this study, serum IL-34 levels were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 19 healthy controls and 175 patients with chronic HBV infection undergoing biopsy. The frequently used serological markers of liver fibrosis were based on laboratory indexes measured at the Clinical Laboratory of the Second Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University. Liver stiffness was detected by transient elastography with FibroTouch. The relationships of non-invasive makers of liver fibrosis and IL-34 levels with inflammation and fibrosis were analyzed. The diagnostic value of IL-34 and other liver fibrosis makers were evaluated using areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves, sensitivity and specificity.
Serum IL-34 levels were associated with inflammatory activity in the liver, and IL-34 levels differed among phases of chronic HBV infection (= 0.001). By comparing serum IL-34 levels among patients with various stages of liver fibrosis determined by liver biopsy, we found that IL-34 levels ≥ 15.83 pg/mL had a high sensitivity of 86.6% and a specificity of 78.7% for identifying severe fibrosis (S3-S4). Furthermore, we showed that IL-34 is superior to the fibrosis-4 score, one of the serum makers of liver fibrosis, in identifying severe liver fibrosis and early cirrhosis in patients with HBV-related liver fibrosis in China.
Our results indicate that IL-34, a cytokine involved in the induction of activation of profibrogenic macrophages, can be an indicator of liver inflammation and fibrosis in patients with chronic HBV infection.