Detection of ophthalmic acid in serum from acetaminophen-induced acute liver failure patients is more frequent in non-survivors

Academic Article


  • Background/Aim: Acetaminophen (APAP) hepatotoxicity is related to the formation of N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI), which is detoxified through conjugation with reduced glutathione (GSH). Ophthalmic acid (OA) is an analogue of GSH in which cysteine is replaced with 2-aminobutyrate. Metabolomics studies of mice with APAP-induced acute liver failure (APAPALF) identified OA as a marker of oxidative stress and hepatic GSH consumption. The aim of the current study was to determine whether OA is detectable in APAP-ALF human patients either early (day 2) or late (day 4) and whether OA levels were associated with inhospital survival in the absence of liver transplant. Methods: Serum samples from 130 APAP-ALF patients (82 survivors, 48 non-survivors) were analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and correlated with clinical data from the United States Acute Liver Failure Study Group (US ALFSG) Registry (2004-2011). Results: Survivors had significantly lower admission bilirubin (4.2 vs. 5.7 mg/dl) and lactate levels (3.3 vs. 6.5 ╬╝mol/l, p<0.05 for all). During the first 7 days of the study, survivors were less likely to require mechanical ventilation (55% vs. 88%), vasopressor support (9.8% vs. 67%) or renal replacement therapy (26% vs. 63%, p<0.001 for all). Non-survivors were more likely to have detectable OA levels early (31% vs. 15%, p = 0.034) and late (27% vs. 11%, p = 0.02). However there were no significant differences in mean OA levels between non-survivors and survivors (early 0.48 vs. 0.36, late 0.43 vs. 0.37, P > 0.5 for all). Conclusion: OA was detectable more frequently in APAP-ALF non-survivors but mean OA levels were not associated with survival. The routine clinical administration of N-acetyl cysteine could replenish GSH levels and prevent OA production.
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    Published In

  • PLoS ONE  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kaur G; Leslie EM; Tillman H; Lee WM; Swanlund DP; Karvellas CJ; Larson AM; Liou I; Fix O; Schilsky M
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 9