Liver breath tests non-invasively predict higher stages of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

Portincasa, Piero; Grattagliano, Ignazio; Lauterburg, Bernhard H; Palmieri, Vincenzo O; Palasciano, Giuseppe; Stellaard, Frans (2006). Liver breath tests non-invasively predict higher stages of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Clinical science, 111(2), pp. 135-43. London: Portland 10.1042/CS20050346

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)

Effectively assessing subtle hepatic metabolic functions by novel non-invasive tests might be of clinical utility in scoring NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) and in identifying altered metabolic pathways. The present study was conducted on 39 (20 lean and 19 obese) hypertransaminasemic patients with histologically proven NAFLD {ranging from simple steatosis to severe steatohepatitis [NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis)] and fibrosis} and 28 (20 lean and eight overweight) healthy controls, who underwent stable isotope breath testing ([(13)C]methacetin and [(13)C]ketoisocaproate) for microsomal and mitochondrial liver function in relation to histology, serum hyaluronate, as a marker of liver fibrosis, and body size. Compared with healthy subjects and patients with simple steatosis, NASH patients had enhanced methacetin demethylation (P=0.001), but decreased (P=0.001) and delayed (P=0.006) ketoisocaproate decarboxylation, which was inversely related (P=0.001) to the degree of histological fibrosis (r=-0.701), serum hyaluronate (r=-0.644) and body size (r=-0.485). Ketoisocaproate decarboxylation was impaired further in obese patients with NASH, but not in patients with simple steatosis and in overweight controls. NASH and insulin resistance were independently associated with an abnormal ketoisocaproate breath test (P=0.001). The cut-off value of 9.6% cumulative expired (13)CO(2) for ketoisocaproate at 60 min was associated with the highest prediction (positive predictive value, 0.90; negative predictive value, 0.73) for NASH, yielding an overall sensitivity of 68% and specificity of 94%. In conclusion, both microsomal and mitochondrial functions are disturbed in NASH. Therefore stable isotope breath tests may usefully contribute to a better and non-invasive characterization of patients with NAFLD.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Clinical Pharmacology and Visceral Research [discontinued]

UniBE Contributor:

Lauterburg, Bernhard










Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:45

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:14

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:


URI: (FactScience: 741)

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback