• branched-chain amino acid;
  • hepatitis C virus;
  • liver cirrhosis;
  • oxidative stress

Aim:  In chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, it is thought that both chronic persistent inflammation and oxidative stress contribute to the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and it has been reported that long-term oral supplementation with branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) granules could inhibit liver carcinogenesis. However, the extent of the involvement of these factors remains obscure.

Methods:  To clarify the involvement of inflammation and oxidative stress in the inhibition of liver carcinogenesis, we evaluated the effect of oral administration of BCAA granules on oxidative stress and inflammation in HCV-positive patients with liver cirrhosis.

Results:  Twenty-seven patients were enrolled in the study: 18 of the patients were treated with BCAA granules (administered group) and nine were observed without BCAA granules (non-administered group). In the non-administered group, the production of oxidative stress, as indicated by urine 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and 15-F2t-Isoprostane (8-IsoPs), significantly increased with time, while in the administered group the levels of ferritin and 8-OHdG decreased significantly. Comparison of the two groups demonstrated that highly sensitive CRP, ferritin, 8-OHdG and 8-IsoPs were significantly reduced by taking BCAA granules. The time-course analysis showed that ferritin and highly sensitive CRP seemed to decrease first, followed by a decrease of 8-OHdG and 8-IsoPs.

Conclusion:  These findings indicated that the administration of BCAA granules influenced microinflammation and the metabolism of iron in HCV-positive patients with liver cirrhosis, and subsequently seemed to reduce the production of oxidative stress, possibly leading to a decrease in the occurrence of HCC.