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Apoptosis versus necrosis rate as a predictor in acute liver failure following acetaminophen intoxication compared with acute-on-chronic liver failure


Ali Canbay, MD, Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Essen, Hufelandstr. 55, D-45122 Essen, Germany
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Cell death is known to play a crucial role in liver diseases. We compared the clinical courses of two cases of liver failure of different origins correlated with the extent of cell death (apoptosis and/or necrosis), measured in the patient's blood. Patient 1 was admitted with acute liver failure following acetaminophen intoxication. Intravenous therapy with acetylcysteine was performed. The percentage of apoptotic cell death measured by M30 was three times higher than normal and the overall cell death measured by M65 was more than 30 × higher than normal. High levels of aminotransferases were detected, indicating high rates of necrosis. M30 and M65 values rapidly returned to normal levels, while the liver function test (LFT) levels decreased with latency. Patient 2 was admitted with acute-on-chronic liver failure with known liver fibrosis. M30 values were 16 × higher than normal. In contrast, M65 values were lower than in the first case. This time, no movement in M30 levels was seen until the M30 levels rapidly increased indicating the inevitable death of the patient, while LFTs did not change. These results indicate the role of M30 and M65 immunoexpression as markers for functioning liver cell mass, capacity for recovery and therefore as predictive markers in acute liver failure.

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