Background: Apolipoprotein AI/apolipoprotein E (apo-AI/apo-E) ratio change and its induction in non-hepatic tissues have been reported during liver development, regeneration, and several pathophysiologic states. The clinical implication of such changes is unclear, but these could reflect recovery and/or severity of liver damage.
Methods and Results: Using RT-PCR we analysed the mRNA expression of apo-AI and apo-E in peripheral white blood cells (PWBC) of patients with different liver diseases who underwent orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) and compared its expression with the lipid profile and liver function tests. We found that patients showed higher levels of apo-AI mRNA without detection of apo-E mRNA on PWBC at the preoperative day, compared with healthy volunteers (HV). We found an apo-AI/apo-E mRNA ratio of 2.7 during the anhepatic stage, followed by a decrease to 1.3, 0.95, and 0.55 at days 30, 60, and 90, respectively. At the last time point, the apo-AI/apo-E ratio was similar to HV. At day 3 post-OLT, the lowest levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol (17 mg/dl; P<0.05) and the highest levels of aspartate aminotransferase, total bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase (77.5 IU/l, 37.9 g/dl, 177.8 IU/l, respectively; P<0.05) were detected.
Conclusion: These results indicate that changes of HDL-cholesterol and apo-AI/apo-E mRNA ratio could be a good indicator of liver damage and/or hepatic functional recovery post-OLT.