Liver pathophysiology

Genome-wide association study in patients with acute decompensation of cirrhosis

The issue

Liver cirrhosis is a significant cause of global health burden, affecting nearly 125 million people worldwide, from which 10.6 million have decompensated cirrhosis, accounting for millions of deaths worldwide. Patients with decompensated cirrhosis are particularly prone to organ dysfunction, which drives patients’ prognosis. Several clinical factors have been associated with organ dysfunction (e.g., older age, male gender, ancestry). However, many decompensated cirrhotic patients with these clinical risk factors never develop organ dysfunctions, suggesting a genetic susceptibility. Genome-wide association studies have provided significant insight into the genetic architecture and the pathogenesis of the liver disease. However, no data are currently available in decompensated cirrhosis.

The approach

This study aims to perform a genome-wide association study to identify genetic variations associated with decompensated cirrhosis and its related complications. This project relies notably on three observational cohorts of patients with acute decompensation of cirrhosis including CANONIC, PREDICT, and ACLARA for which genome-wide data have been generated with a single nucleotide polymorphism array. The identification of genetic variation associated with features of decompensation of cirrhosis may lead to novel insight in the pathophysiology of this disease.

The project aims to identify common genetic variants that are associated with features of decompensated cirrhosis such as acute-on-chronic liver failure, infection, and renal dysfunction. Finding some susceptibility genes that modulate the risk of these life-threatening complications has the potential to provide a better comprehension of the underlying biological mechanisms driving these complications. These findings may advance our understanding of the pathogenesis of decompensated cirrhosis and guide the development of novel drug targets.