Serum protein N-glycans profiling for the discovery of potential biomarkers for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

Cuiying Chen*, Hemda Schmilovitz-Weiss, Xue En Liu, Orit Pappo, Marisa Halpern, Jaqueline Sulkes, Marius Braun, Maya Cohen, Nir Barak, Ran Tur-Kaspa, Valerie Vanhooren, Hans Van Vlierberghe, Claude Libert, Roland Contreras, Ziv Ben-Ari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The hepatic histology in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can vary from isolated hepatic steatosis to steatohepatitis can progress to cirrhosis and liver-related death. The aim was to evaluate the use of blood serum N-glycan fingerprinting as a tool for differential diagnosis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis from steatosis. A group of 47 patients with NAFLD was diagnosed by clinical laboratory analysis and ultrasonography, and was studied histologically using the Brunt's scoring system. The control group included 13 healthy individuals. N-glycan profiles of serum proteins were determined by DNA sequencer- based carbohydrate analytical profiling. We have found that the concentrations of two glycans (NGA2F and NA2) and their logarithm ratio of NGA2F versus NA2 (named GlycoNashTest) were associated with the degree of NASH-related fibrosis, but had no correlation with the grade of inflammation nor steatosis severity. When used to screen NAFLD patients, GlycoNashTest could identify advanced NASH-related fibrosis (F3-F4) with the diagnosis sensitivity of 89.5% and specificity of 71.4%. The serum N-glycan profile is a promising noninvasive method for detecting NASH or NASH-related fibrosis in NAFLD patients, which could be a valuable supplement to other markers currently used in diagnosis of NASH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-470
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Fatty liver
  • Glycomics
  • Liver fibrosis
  • N-glycan
  • NASH
  • Noninvasive


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