Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects 3-12% of the general pediatric population. HMGB1 protein is presently considered a potent inflammatory mediator in several liver diseases, even if its role in NAFLD is still unknown in clinical studies. Here we investigated the relationships between circulating HMGB1, TGF-β and MCP-1 and liver damage in pediatric NAFLD. HMGB1, TGF-β and MCP-1 plasma levels were measured in 110 obese children with biopsy-proven NAFLD and 40 age-matched obese controls. HMGB1, TGF-β and MCP-1, ALT, AST and cholesterol plasma levels were significantly higher in NAFLD than in control children. A significant association between increased levels of HMGB1, TGF-β and MCP-1 and high degrees of fibrosis was found. In this study, we showed for the first time that circulating levels of HMGB1 were raised in children with NAFLD and strongly correlated with fibrosis and systemic inflammation.
TGF β, high mobility group box 1, liver fibrosis, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease