There is a need for new noninvasive biomarkers (NIBMs) able to assess cholestasis and fibrosis in chronic cholestatic liver diseases (CCLDs). Tumorigenesis can arise from CCLDs. Therefore, autoantibodies to tumor-associated antigens (TAA) may be early produced in response to abnormal self-antigen expression caused by cholestatic injury. Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3 (VEGFR-3) has TAA potential since it is involved in cholangiocytes and lymphatic vessels proliferations during CCLDs. This study aims to detect autoantibodies directed at VEGFR-3 during bile duct ligation- (BDL-) induced cholestatic injury in rat sera and investigate whether they could be associated with traditional markers of liver damage, cholestasis, and fibrosis. An ELISA was performed to detect anti-VEGFR-3 autoantibodies in sera of rats with different degree of liver injury and results were correlated with aminotransferases, total bilirubin, and the relative fibrotic area. Mean absorbances of anti-VEGFR-3 autoantibodies were significantly increased from week one to week five after BDL. The highest correlation was observed with total bilirubin (R 2 = 0.8450, P = 3.04e - 12). In conclusion, anti-VEGFR-3 autoantibodies are early produced during BDL-induced cholestatic injury, and they are closely related to cholestasis, suggesting the potential of anti-VEGFR-3 autoantibodies as NIBMs of cholestasis in CCLDs and justifying the need for further investigations in patients with CCLD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical