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Hepatol Int. 2008 Dec;2(4):465-70. doi: 10.1007/s12072-008-9098-6. Epub 2008 Sep 16.

A 7-day profile of oxidative stress and antioxidant status in patients with acute liver failure.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, 110029, India.



Acute liver failure (ALF) is characterized by a rapid and massive destruction of hepatocytes. The role of oxidative stress in perpetuating the injury is undefined and may be a potential therapeutic target. Our aim was to study serial variation in oxidative stress and antioxidant status in patients with ALF.


The study involved a prospective case-control study set in a tertiary care referral center. Thirty-two consecutive patients admitted with ALF were included with 23 healthy controls for comparison. Level of systemic oxidative stress as defined by superoxide dismutase (SOD), lipid peroxidation products (thiobarbituric acid reactive derivatives [TBARS]), and the total antioxidant capacity as the ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) was measured at baseline on days 3 and 7.


The patients were aged 24 years (range 13-60 years) and included 20 females. Thirteen (40.6%) patients died. Patients with ALF had significantly increased systemic oxidative stress at presentation, as reflected by higher levels of SOD (P < 0.001) and TBARS (P < 0.001) than controls. Both TBARS levels and FRAP decreased progressively from admission to the end of first week among the survivors (P = 0.004 and 0.015, respectively). The antioxidant status reflected by FRAP (P = 0.001) was significantly lower in ALF patients than controls. No relation was found between the level of oxidative stress and the mortality or complications.


A high level of systemic oxidative stress exists in ALF, with depletion of antioxidant reserves. Further studies are needed to define the clinical correlation of the large pro-oxidant burden.

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