Background/aims Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and cryptogenic cirrhosis (CC), which is largely a late sequela of NAFLD, are considered pre-neoplastic conditions that might progress to hepatocellular carcinoma. Aneuploidy, telomere aggregates and synchronization of replication were evaluated as markers of genetic instability in these patients. Methodology Peripheral blood lymphocytes from 22 patients with NAFLD, 20 patients with CC and 20 age-matched healthy controls were analyzed. To determine random aneuploidy, we used the fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with probes for chromosomes 9 and 18. The rate of aneuploidy was inferred from the fraction of cells revealing one, three or more hybridization signals per cell. Aggregate size was divided into three fusion groups of 2–5, 6–10 and 11–15 telomeres, relative to the size of a single telomere. The replication pattern was determined by FISH in two pairs of alleles, 15qter and 13qter. Asynchrony was determined by the presence of one single and one set of double dots in the same cell. Results Significantly higher random aneuploidy rate was found in the CC patients than in the control group, and to a lesser degree in NAFLD patients. Telomere aggregates were insignificantly higher in both groups. Only patients with CC showed significantly higher rate of asynchronous replication with proportionately more cells with two single dots among the normal cells (p < 0.001). Conclusions These results likely reflect changes in gene replication and cell cycle progression in these conditions, possibly correlating with their malignant potential.
- Cryptogenic cirrhosis
- Fatty liver