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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biochemistry - Gastroenterology and Hepatology - Pediatrics and Child Health - Public Health and Epidemiology

Cannabinoid Receptor Type 2 Functional Variant Influences Liver Damage in Children with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012
Author: Francesca Rossi et al.

by Francesca Rossi, Giulia Bellini, Anna Alisi, Arianna Alterio, Sabatino Maione, Laura Perrone, Franco Locatelli, Emanuele Miraglia del Giudice, Valerio Nobili

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) comprises a spectrum of disease ranging from simple steatosis to inflammatory steatohepatitis (NASH) with different degrees of fibrosis that can ultimately progress to cirrhosis. Accumulating evidence suggests the involvement of the endocannabinoid-system in liver disease and related complications. In particular, hepatoprotective properties for Cannabinoid Receptor type 2 (CB2) have been shown both through experimental murine models of liver injury and association study between a CB2 functional variant, Q63R, and liver enzymes in Italian obese children with steatosis. Here, in order to clarify the role of CB2 in severity of childhood NAFLD, we have investigated the association of the CB2 Q63R variant, with histological parameters of liver disease severity in 118 Italian children with histologically-proven NAFLD. CB2 Q63R genotype was assigned performing a TaqMan assay and a general linear model analysis was used to evaluate the association between the polymorphism and the histological parameters of liver damage. We have found that whereas CB2 Q63R variant is not associated with steatosis or fibrosis, it is associated with the severity of the inflammation (p?=?0.002) and the presence of NASH (p?=?0.02). Our findings suggest a critical role for CB2 Q63R variant in modulating hepatic inflammation state in obese children and in the consequent increased predisposition of these patients to liver damage.
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