Subjects with chronic liver disease are susceptible to hypovitaminosis A due to several factors. Therefore, identifying patients with vitamin deficiency and a requirement for vitamin supplementation is important. Most studies assessing vitamin A in the context of hepatic disorders are conducted using cirrhotic patients. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 43 non-cirrhotic patients with chronic hepatitis C to evaluate markers of vitamin A status represented by serum retinol, liver retinol, and serum retinol-binding protein levels. We also performed the relative dose-response test, which provides an indirect estimate of hepatic vitamin A reserves. These vitamin A indicators were assessed according to the stage of liver fibrosis using the METAVIR score and the body mass index. The sample study was predominantly composed of male subjects (63%) with mild liver fibrosis (F1). The relative dose-response test was <20% in all subjects, indicating vitamin A sufficiency. Overweight or obese patients had higher serum retinol levels than those with a normal body mass index (2.6 and 1.9 µmol/L, respectively; P<0.01). Subjects with moderate liver fibrosis (F2) showed lower levels of serum retinol (1.9 vs 2.5 µmol/L, P=0.01) and retinol-binding protein levels compared with those with mild fibrosis (F1) (46.3 vs 67.7 µg/mL, P<0.01). These results suggested an effect of being overweight on serum retinol levels. Furthermore, more advanced stages of liver fibrosis were related to a decrease in serum vitamin A levels.
Santana, R. C., Machado, A. A., Martinelli, A. L. C., Jordão, A. A., Ramalho, L. N. Z., & Vannucchi, H. (2016). Assessment of indicators of vitamin A status in non-cirrhotic chronic hepatitis C patients. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 49(1). https://doi.org/10.1590/1414-431X20154785