Table 2

Liver histology, immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence of study population (n=80), grouped according to the presence/absence of NASH

ParameterNAFLD (n=80)Not NASH (n=31)NASH (n=49)P value
NASH versus not NASH
Steatosis score2.3±0.71.6±0.62.6±0.5<0.001
Lobular inflammatory score1.5±0.71.1±0.51.8±0.5<0.001
Ballooning score1.1±0.60.6±0.51.4±0.6<0.001
NAS4.9±1.43.4±0.75.7±0.8<0.001
Fibrosis stage1.4±0.70.9±0.71.61±0.73<0.001
Fibrosis stage n (%)
 010 (13%)9 (29%)1 (2%)0.001
 135 (44%)15 (48%)20 (41%)0.665
  1a0%0%0%0.899
  1b11 (8%)5 (16%)6 (12%)0.813
  1c24 (30%)9 (29%)15 (31%)0.920
 232 (40%)7 (23%)25 (51%)0.022
 33 (8%)0%3 (6%)0.424
 40%0%0%0.899
Fibrosis any stage n (%)70 (88%)22 (71%)48 (98%)0.001
Portal fibrosis n (%)56 (70%)16 (52%)40 (82%)0.009
Significant (stage ≥2) fibrosis n (%)35 (44%)7 (23%)28 (57%)0.005
Hepatocytes
 Cell-cycle arrest index*7.89±6.943.71±2.8912.07±6.35<0.001
 Apoptotic index*9.61±7.75.36±6.6313.86±6.57<0.001
 Adiponectin-positive hepatocytes (%)17.2±11.323.5±10.48.5±5.6<0.001
 Resistin-positive hepatocytes(%)18.4±13.320.1±12.815.9±13.50.171
 TLR-4-positive hepatocytes (%)†54.1±16.239.0±5.969.2±5.4<0.001
Kupffer cells
 n-Kupffer cells†9.8±3.87.8±2.911.9±3.7<0.001
 TLR-4-positive Kupffer cells
  n-cells5.1±3.12.9±2.27.2±2.4<0.001
  % cells48.3±17.635.5±14.961.1±8.5<0.001
HSCs
 n-HSCs†5.9±1.94.7±1.67.0±1.6<0.001
 TLR-4-positive HSCs
  n-cells2.4±1.31.3±0.63.4±0.8<0.001
  % total HSCs38.9±14.928.2±10.849.6±10.0<0.001
HPCs
 n-HPCs‡41.7±9.137.6±8.343.6±9.20.004
 Adiponectin-positive HPCs
  n-HPCs4.4±0.75.3±0.72.9±0.5<0.001
  % HPCs10.5±8.114.1±8.66.8±5.7<0.001
 Resistin-positive HPCs
  n-HPCs8.9±0.98.6±1.09.0±1.10.105
  % HPCs21.5±9.422.3±8.620.9±10.40.533
Intermediate hepatocytes (% patients)11 (14%)0%11 (22%)0.012
  • Data are reported as mean±SD, unless otherwise specified. Statistically significant differences (p<0.05) are highlighted in bold.

  • *At least 30 lobular fields at ×40 magnification were analysed (1000 hepatocytes) for each section.

  • †Mean count in five different fields at a magnification of ×20 under light microscopy.

  • ‡Cells per HPF, that is, at a magnification of ×20 under light microscopy.

  • HPC, hepatic progenitor cells; HPF, high-power field; HSC, hepatic stellate cells; NAFLD, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; NAS, NAFLD activity score; NASH, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; TLR, toll-like receptor.