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Hepatic macrophages (Kupffer cells) play important roles in inflammation and portal hypertension in patients with chronic liver disease (CLD).1 We recently showed that plasma soluble CD163 (sCD163), a specific marker for macrophage activation, is produced within and released from the liver with a direct relationship to the portal venous pressure gradient.2 ,3 We hypothesised that: (1) sCD163 is elevated in patients with CLD with previous clinical decompensation; and (2) sCD163 is a marker for CLD progression and clinical deterioration.
We measured sCD163 in 52 controls and 116 consecutive patients with CLD (89% cirrhosis) caused by chronic hepatitis C (36%), alcohol (30%), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (11%), chronic hepatitis B (10%); other liver diseases (12%) accounted for the remainder of the cases. Cirrhosis was diagnosed by consistent examination and radiological findings, or by liver biopsy. All controls had no history or clinical examination signs of CLD, and normal liver function tests. They were followed for a median of …
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