International journal of molecular sciences, Volume 24, Issue 3, 27 4 2023, Pages 2485 Fibrosis-Related Gene Profiling in Liver Biopsies of PiZZ α1-Antitrypsin Children with Different Clinical Courses. Kamp JC, Kappe NN, Moro CF, Fuge J, Kuehnel MP, Wrenger S, Welte T, Hoek BV, Jonigk DD, Khedoe PPSJ, Strnad P, Björnstedt M, Stolk J, Janciauskiene S, Nemeth A
PiZZ (Glu342Lys) α1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is characterized by intrahepatic AAT polymerization and is a risk factor for liver disease development in children. The majority of PiZZ children are disease free, hence this mutation alone is not sufficient to cause the disease. We investigated Z-AAT polymers and the expression of fibrosis-related genes in liver tissues of PiZZ children with different clinical courses. Liver biopsies obtained during 1979-2010 at the Department of Paediatrics, Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden, were subjected to histological re-evaluation, immunohistochemistry and NanoString-based transcriptome profiling using a panel of 760 fibrosis plus 8 bile acid-related genes. Subjects were divided into three groups based on clinical outcomes: NCH (neonatal cholestasis, favourable outcome, n = 5), NCC (neonatal cholestasis, early cirrhosis and liver transplantation, n = 4), and NNCH (no neonatal cholestasis, favourable outcome, n = 5, six biopsies). Hepatocytes containing Z-AAT polymers were abundant in all groups whereas NCC showed higher expression of genes related to liver fibrosis/cirrhosis and lower expression of genes related to lipid, aldehyde/ketone, and bile acid metabolism. Z-AAT accumulation per se cannot explain the clinical outcomes of PiZZ children; however, changes in the expression of specific genes and pathways involved in lipid, fatty acid, and steroid metabolism appear to reflect the degree of liver injury.