Aim: The aim of the study was to assess the implication of Zonulin, a mediator protein synthesized by intestine and the liver, in patients with chronic liver diseases.
Materials and methods: Twenty-six patients with chronic liver diseases due to hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) were enrolled in this study. Out of total 26 patients, 17 were diagnosed as chronic hepatitis (CH) and 9 were patients with liver cirrhosis (LC). Twenty-four of these patients were infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and the rest two by hepatitis B virus (HBV). The study was conducted at Saiseikai- Imabari Hospital, Imabari, Ehime, Japan. Serum levels of Zonulin along with different parameters of liver function test were measured in all patients and comparative analyses were accomplished.
Results: The serum levels of Zonulin were significantly lower in CH patients compared to controls (p<0.001). Also, the levels of Zonulin were significantly lower in patients with LC compared to CH and normal controls (p<0.001). Further analysis revealed that serum Zonulin was significantly lower in patients with LC having ascites than those without ascites (p <0.05). There was a significant correlation of serum levels of Zonulin with platelet count, cholinesterase, and albumin in patients with chronic liver diseases.
Discussion: Decreased levels of Zonulin may be related to impaired production of this mediator in the diseased liver. It will be tempting to assess the regulation of Zonulin in the liver, a production site of the mediator.
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