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Keywords:

  • Age at onset;
  • alcohol intake;
  • alcoholic liver disease;
  • genetics;
  • incidence;
  • patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing protein 3;
  • polymorphism

Abstract

Background & Aims

Environmental and genetic factors contribute to alcoholic cirrhosis onset. In particular, age at exposure to liver stressors has been shown to be important in progression to fibrosis in hepatitis C individuals. However, no definite data on the role of age at onset of at-risk alcohol consumption are available. Moreover, patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing protein 3 (PNPLA3) I148M (rs738409) variant has been associated with alcoholic cirrhosis, but only in cross-sectional studies. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of age at onset of at-risk alcohol consumption and PNPLA3 I148M variant on alcoholic cirrhosis incidence.

Methods

A total of 384 at-risk alcohol drinkers were retrospectively examined. The association among age at onset of at-risk alcohol consumption, PNPLA3 I148M variant and cirrhosis incidence was tested.

Results

A higher incidence of alcoholic cirrhosis was observed in individuals with an older (≥24 years) compared with a younger (<24) age at onset of at-risk alcohol consumption (P-value < 0.001). Moreover, PNPLA3 148M allele carriers showed an increased incidence of cirrhosis (P-value < 0.001). Both age at onset of at-risk alcohol consumption and PNPLA3 148M allele were independent risk factors for developing cirrhosis (H.R. (95% C.I.): 2.76 (2.18–3.50), P-value < 0.001; 1.53(1.07–2.19), P-value = 0.021 respectively). The 148M allele was associated with a two-fold increased risk of cirrhosis in individuals with a younger compared with an older age at onset of at-risk alcohol consumption (H.R. (95% C.I.): 3.03(1.53–6.00) vs. 1.61(1.09–2.38).

Conclusions

Age at onset of at-risk alcohol consumption and PNPLA3 I148M genetic variant are independently associated with alcoholic cirrhosis incidence.