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Liver. 1987 Dec;7(6):339-46.

Serum aminoterminal type III procollagen peptide and the 7S domain of type IV collagen in patients with alcohol abuse. Relation to ultrastructural fibrosis in the acinar zone 3 and to serum hyaluronan.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Hvidovre Hospital, Denmark.


Serum concentrations of the aminoterminal propeptide of type III procollagen and of the 7S domain of type IV collagen, presumed to reflect fibrotic activity in liver tissue, and of the glycosamonoglycan hyaluronan, were obtained from 40 alcohol abusers, at the time of liver biopsy. The serological results were related to morphological findings in liver tissue, i.e. no fibrosis, fibrosis without cirrhosis, micronodular cirrhosis and macronodular cirrhosis, and to ultrastructural indications of perisinusoidal fibrosis in the acinar zone 3. All patients with fibrosis and cirrhosis on light microscopy had elevated serum levels of the type III procollagen peptide as well as of the 7S domain of type IV collagen. However, due to a considerable overlap between the groups, no relations could be demonstrated to the severity of the fibrosis, supporting the assumption that these serological markers reflect the current fibrotic activity and not the amount of fibrotic tissue previously deposited. Among patients without fibrosis on light microscopy, a relation between the propeptide levels and ultrastructural perisinusoidal zone 3 fibrosis was observed, suggesting that type III procollagen peptide may be valuable in detecting very early liver fibrosis. A positive correlation was demonstrated between the serum concentrations of type III procollagen peptide and hyaluronan. As hyaluronan is degraded in the liver endothelial cells, it is suggested that the liver is involved, not only in the synthesis, but also in the degradation of the propeptide.

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