Hepatic Encephalopathy in Children with Acute Liver Failure: Utility of Serum Neuromarkers

Pediatric Acute Liver Failure Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Pediatric acute liver failure (PALF) is a public heath burden, often requiring prolonged hospitalization and liver transplantation. Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a complication of PALF with limited diagnostic tools to predict outcomes. Serum neurological markers (neuron-specific enolase, S100β, and myelin basic protein) can be elevated in traumatic or ischemic brain injury. We hypothesized that these neuromarkers would be associated with the development of HE in PALF. Methods: PALF study participants enrolled between May 2012 and December 2014 by 12 participating centers were the subjects of this analysis. Daily HE assessments were determined by study investigators. Neurological and inflammatory markers were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and MILLIPLEX techniques, respectively. To model encephalopathy, these markers were log2 transformed and individually examined for association with HE using a generalized linear mixed model with a logit link and random intercept. Results: Eighty-two children had neurological and inflammatory marker levels and HE assessments recorded, with the majority having assessments for 3 days during their illness. An indeterminate diagnosis (29%) was most common and the median age was 2.9 years. Significant associations were observed for HE with S100β (odds ratio 1.16, 95% confidence interval [1.03-1.29], P = 0.04) and IL-6 (odds ratio 1.24 [1.11-1.38], P = 0.006). Conclusions: Serum S100β and IL-6 are associated with HE in children with PALF. Measuring these markers may assist in assessing neurological injury in PALF, impacting clinical decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-115
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • acute liver failure
  • hepatic encephalopathy
  • inflammatory markers
  • neuromarkers
  • pediatric acute liver failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Gastroenterology


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