• extracellular matrix;
  • hepatic fibrosis;
  • tenascin

To evaluate the diagnostic significance of tenascin, the extracellular matrix glycoprotein in chronic liver disease, serum tenascin levels were measured by a newly developed ELISA in 21 patients with chronic persistent hepatitis, in 55 with chronic active hepatitis, in 59 with liver cirrhosis, in 31 with hepatocellular carcinoma, in 26 with acute hepatitis and in 66 healthy subjects. The serum tenascin level was significantly elevated in the patients with chronic active hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and acute hepatitis when compared with the healthy subjects (P<0.001). The serum tenascin level also increased with increasing severity of chronic liver diseases. A significant correlation was observed between the serum tenascin levels and serum levels of various extracellular matrix proteins such as type III procollagen N-aminoterminal peptide (PIIIP), laminin and the 7S domain of type IV collagen (P<0.001). A strong positive correlation was observed between the serum tenascin levels and histologic findings, particularly in the degree of hepatic fibrosis. This is the first report documenting serum tenascin level increases in patients with various chronic liver diseases. The measurement of the serum tenascin levels may provide additional information relevant to the study of connective tissue.