Briefly noted: T Lin et al. Hepatology 2022; 322-337. Open Access: Follistatin-controlled activin-HNF4α-coagulation factor axis in liver progenitor cells determines outcome of acute liver failure
Design: After preliminary work in 19 patients with acute liver failure (ALF) and in a zebrafish model, a prospective clinical study followed up 186 patients with cirrhosis for 80 months to observe the relevance of follistatin (FST) levels in prevalence and mortality of acute-on-chronic liver failure.
Key findings: Recovered patients with ALF robustly express HNF4α in either LPCs (liver progenitor cells) or remaining hepatocytes. Serum FST levels could predict the incidence and mortality of acute-on-chronic liver failure.
Implication of study: “Our results indicate that serum FST levels might be a surrogate marker reflecting the extent of hepatocyte death and hepatic insulin resistance, which point to the danger of coagulopathy and clinical deterioration. The hypothesis requires further confirmation in the future.”