Background: Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has risen in prevalence substantially through the years. Although course and progression of the disease are variable, fibrosis is the most important factor. We intended to explore utility of serum biglycan (BGN) in NASH and its capacity in anticipating liver fibrosis.
Methods: Serum tests of consecutive patients with biopsy-confirmed NASH and age, gender-matched healthy volunteers were utilized to evaluate serum BGN levels using ELISA kits. The correlation between BGN and histopathological highlights of NASH was examined. While patients with fibrosis scores < 2 were assembled in mild and scores of (≥ 2) were in significant fibrosis groups. Univariate/multivariate regression analyses were performed to assess the independent predictive variables of liver fibrosis. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) were applied to locate the best cutoff values of BGN for NASH and fibrosis.
Results: Seventy patients with NASH and 70 controls were recruited in the study. BGN levels were lower in NASH patients contrasted with controls 137.70 ± 33.12 pg/mL vs. 259.61 ± 187.34 pg/mL, respectively, and p < 0.001. In correlation, serum BGN was related to liver fibrosis and inflammation. The comparison between mild and significant fibrosis groups regarding BGN was as follows 155.92 ± 49.97 pg/mL vs. 390.07 ± 214.746 pg/mL, respectively, (p < 0.001). In multivariate analyses, BGN was an independent predictive factor of significant fibrosis (OR, 1.030; 95% CI: 1.011 - 1.048; p < 0.001). ROC analysis revealed that BGN was statistically significant in determination of significant fibrosis (AUROC, 0.955; 95% CI, 0.877 - 0.990; p < 0.001). Best cutoff value was 189.58 pg/mL with the best sensitivity (93.55%) and specificity (87.18%).
Conclusions: Serum BGN may be a new non-invasive indicative marker for the presence of NASH, significant fibrosis, and a treatment goal in the disease process.