Circulating histone signature of human lean metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD).

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Clinical epigenetics, 2020, 12, (1), pp. 126
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BACKGROUND:Although metabolic associate fatty liver disease (MAFLD) is associated with obesity, it can also occur in lean patients. MAFLD is more aggressive in lean patients compared to obese patients, with a higher risk of mortality. Specific biomarkers to diagnose differentially lean or overweight MAFLD are missing. Histones and nucleosomes are released in the bloodstream upon cell death. Here, we propose a new, fast, imaging and epigenetics based approach to investigate the severity of steatosis in lean MAFLD patients. RESULTS:A total of 53 non-obese patients with histologically confirmed diagnosis of MAFLD were recruited. Twenty patients displayed steatosis grade 1 (0-33%), 24 patients with steatosis grade 2 (34-66%) and 9 patients with steatosis grade 3 (67-100%). The levels of circulating nucleosomes were assayed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, while individual histones or histone dimers were assayed in serum samples by means of a new advanced flow cytometry ImageStream(X)-adapted method. Circulating nucleosome levels associated poorly with MAFLD in the absence of obesity. We implemented successfully a multi-channel flow methodology on ImageStream(X), to image single histone staining (H2A, H2B, H3, H4, macroH2A1.1 and macroH2A1.2). We report here a significant depletion of the levels of histone variants macroH2A1.1 and macroH2A1.2 in the serum of lean MAFLD patients, either individually or in complex with H2B. CONCLUSIONS:In summary, we identified a new circulating histone signature able to discriminate the severity of steatosis in individuals with lean MAFLD, using a rapid and non-invasive ImageStream(X)-based imaging technology.
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