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Sci Rep. 2018 Feb 14;8(1):3004. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-21399-6.

The Cerebellum of Patients with Steatohepatitis Shows Lymphocyte Infiltration, Microglial Activation and Loss of Purkinje and Granular Neurons.

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Laboratory of Neurobiology, Centro Investigación Príncipe Felipe, Valencia, Spain.
Instituto Valenciano de Patología, Unidad Mixta de Patología Molecular. CIPF/Universidad Católica, Valencia, Spain.
Instituto de Medicina Legal y Ciencias Forenses, Valencia, Spain.
Departamento de Patología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Valencia, Valencia, Spain.
Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria-INCLIVA, Valencia, Spain.
Laboratory of Neurobiology, Centro Investigación Príncipe Felipe, Valencia, Spain.


Peripheral inflammation contributes to minimal hepatic encephalopathy in chronic liver diseases, which could be mediated by neuroinflammation. Neuroinflammation in cerebellum of patients with chronic liver diseases has not been studied in detail. Our aim was to analyze in cerebellum of patients with different grades of liver disease, from mild steatohepatitis to cirrhosis and hepatic encephalopathy: (a) neuronal density in Purkinje and granular layers; (b) microglial activation; (c) astrocyte activation; (d) peripheral lymphocytes infiltration; (e) subtypes of lymphocytes infiltrated. Steatohepatitis was classified as SH1, SH2 and SH3. Patients with SH1 show Th17 and Tfh lymphocytes infiltration in the meninges, microglia activation in the molecular layer and loss of 16 ± 4% of Purkinje and 19 ± 2% of granular neurons. White matter remains unaffected. With the progression of liver disease to worse stages (SH2, SH3, cirrhosis) activation of microglia and astrocytes extends to white matter, Bergman glia is damaged in the molecular layer and there is a further loss of Purkinje neurons. The results reported show that neuroinflammation in cerebellum occurs at early stages of liver disease, even before reaching cirrhosis. Neuroinflammation occurs earlier in the molecular layer than in white matter, and is associated with infiltration of peripheral Th17 and Tfh lymphocytes.

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