Your Urine Can Diagnose Cirrhosis

Your Urine Can Diagnose Cirrhosis

By Shinji Tutoru

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA, NC, USA. The use of gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and ultra performance liquid chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry is a less invasive diagnostic tool that can detect and predict the outcome of cirrhosis of the liver.

University of North Carolina’s Wei Jia and colleagues in China were looking for a less invasive and more direct diagnostic tool in liver biopsy. Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease that can decrease the liver function and scar it. If not properly diagnosed and treated, it can be a life-threatening disease.

The typical diagnostic tools to check liver disease are through the detection of excess fluid in the abdomen and blood tests for liver enzymes. These methods still do not provide a direct link or proof of the current stage of a patient’s cirrhosis. In this case, doctors have no choice but to rely on invasive liver biopsy. Also, they depend on past clinical experience in diagnosing and treating this disease.

What the researchers did was to use gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and ultra performance liquid chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Metabolites were analyzed in the urine of men who developed this condition after having Hepatitis B. They also measured the metabolites of the urine of healthy men. Their analysis resulted to the discovery of 39 metabolites (including a-hydroxyhippurate and estrone) whose urine concentrations significantly differed between healthy men and the patients. They also developed a statistical model that can predict if a patient had cirrhosis and the stage that it reached.

According to Jia, the diagnostic tool is still not practical for routine testing since it is tedious. He hopes that other researchers will further improve on this model and design more clinic-friendly diagnostic tools that are certainly non-invasive and can predict if the patient’s cirrhosis has other causes.

Invention Urine Diagnosis Tool For Cirrhosis
Organization University of North Carolina, NC, USA
Researcher Wei Jia & colleagues in China
Field(s) Medical, Liver Diagnosis
Further Information C&EN

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