Artículo del mes
diciembre 2022

Beneficial Effect of Ursodeoxycholic Acid in Patients with ACOX2 Deficiency-Associated Hypertransaminasemia

Marta Alonso-Peña, Ricardo Espinosa-Escudero, Elisa Herráez, Oscar Briz, María Luisa Cagigal, Jesús M González-Santiago, Aida Ortega-Alonso, Conrado Fernández-Rodríguez, Luis Bujanda, Marta Calvo Sánchez, Delia D’ Avola, María-Carlota Londoño, Moisés Diago, José C. Fernández-Checa, Carmen García-Ruiz, Raúl J. Andrade, Frank Lammert, Jesús Prieto, Javier Crespo, Javier Juampérez, Alvaro Díaz-González, María J. Monte, José J. G. Marín
Las deficiencias en la biosíntesis de los ácidos biliares son enfermedades raras que cursan con diversas alteraciones hepáticas y neurológicas. En este artículo se describe un grupo de nuevos casos de Hipertransaminasemia Asociada a la Deficiencia de ACOX2 (HADA), la utilidad del ácido ursodesoxicólico como tratamiento para revertir la sintomatología, los mecanismos moleculares de la enfermedad y nuevas variantes de ACOX2 cuya presencia podría asociarse con la aparición de HADA.
Resumen
Background and aims:
A variant (p.Arg225Trp) of peroxisomal acyl-CoA oxidase 2 (ACOX2), involved in bile acid (BA) side-chain shortening, has been associated with unexplained persistent hypertransaminasemia and accumulation of C27-BAs, mainly 3α,7α,12α-trihydroxy-5β-cholestanoic acid (THCA). We aimed to investigate the prevalence of ACOX2 deficiency-associated hypertransaminasemia (ADAH), its response to ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), elucidate its pathophysiological mechanism and identify other inborn errors that could cause this alteration.

Methods and results:
Among 33 patients with unexplained hypertransaminasemia from 11 hospitals and 13 of their relatives, seven individuals with abnormally high C27-BA levels (>50% of total BAs) were identified by high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The p.Arg225Trp variant was found in homozygosity (exon amplification/sequencing) in two patients and three family members. Two additional nonrelated patients were heterozygous carriers of different alleles: c.673C>T (p.Arg225Trp) and c.456_459del (p.Thr154fs). In patients with ADAH, impaired liver expression of ACOX2, but not ACOX3, was found (immunohistochemistry). Treatment with UDCA normalized aminotransferase levels. Incubation of HuH-7 hepatoma cells with THCA, which was efficiently taken up, but not through BA transporters, increased reactive oxygen species production (flow cytometry), endoplasmic reticulum stress biomarkers (GRP78, CHOP, and XBP1-S/XBP1-U ratio), and BAXα expression (reverse transcription followed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and immunoblot), whereas cell viability was decreased (tetrazolium salt-based cell viability test). THCA-induced cell toxicity was higher than that of major C24-BAs and was not prevented by UDCA. Fourteen predicted ACOX2 variants were generated (site-directed mutagenesis) and expressed in HuH-7 cells. Functional tests to determine their ability to metabolize THCA identified six with the potential to cause ADAH.

Conclusions:
Dysfunctional ACOX2 has been found in several patients with unexplained hypertransaminasemia. This condition can be accurately identified by a noninvasive diagnostic strategy based on plasma BA profiling and ACOX2 sequencing. Moreover, UDCA treatment can efficiently attenuate liver damage in these patients.
Referencia artículo:
Alonso-Peña M, Espinosa-Escudero R, Herraez E, Briz O, Cagigal ML, Gonzalez-Santiago JM, et al. Beneficial effect of ursodeoxycholic acid in patients with acyl-CoA oxidase 2 (ACOX2) deficiency–associated hypertransaminasemia. Hepatology. 2022;76:1259–1274.
Sobre el grupo investigador
El equipo de investigación HEVEPHARM es un equipo multidisciplinar dirigido por el Dr. José Juan García Marín, perteneciente a la Universidad de Salamanca, y está adscrito al Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Salamanca (IBSAL) y Centro Nacional de Investigación Biomédica en Red para el Estudio de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBERehd). Sus líneas de investigación se centran en el metabolismo de los ácidos biliares y en la reversión de la quimiorresistencia de los principales tumores hepáticos.