Serum Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Level As A Marker Of Fibrosis In Patients With Chronic Hepatitis B
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Background and aims: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a public health problem and affects nearly 350 million people worldwide. The present study was conducted in order to investigate the role of circulating angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) in the context of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone in newly diagnosed chronic hepatitis B infection. Moreover the association between liver fibrosis and serum ACE levels was also investigated. Materials and methods: The study was performed on 50 chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients (24 males, 26 females; median age 39.4 years, range 18-63) and 20 healthy controls. The clinical features of CHB patients including demographics, laboratory and liver biopsy findings were summarized. Serum ACE levels were measured by using commercially available kits. Results: Serum median ACE levels were 48.4 (14-83) U/L and 26.2 (12-48) U/L for the CHB patients and controls, respectively. Serum ACE levels were significantly higher in patients with CHB compared with the control group (p<0.001). Twenty-two patients (44%) had advanced liver fibrosis (Ishak score >2) and 28 patients (56%) had mild liver fibrosis (Ishak score <= 2). Mean serum levels of ACE were significantly higher among patients with advanced fibrosis as compared with those without advanced fibrosis (60.3 +/- 14.2 U/L vs. 39.0 +/- 10.5 U/L, p<0.001). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis suggested that the optimum ACE level cut-off point for advanced fibrosis was 52.5 U/L (sensitivity: 81.8%, specificity: 82.1%, PPV 78.3%, NPV 85.2%, accuracy 82%, AUC: 0.890). Conclusions: Our study showed that elevated circulating ACE levels are commonly observed in CHB patients. This finding was more prominent in patients with advanced fibrosis in liver. When evaluating a patient along with other parameters, the inclusion of ACE levels in the evaluation of CHB patients may grant additional prognostic information.