Serum HMGB1 associates with liver disease and predicts readmission and mortality in patients with alcohol use disorder

Augustin G.L. Vannier, Ben Wardwell, Vladislav Fomin, Amanda PeBenito, Nicholas Wolczynski, Samuel Piaker, Dmitriy Kedrin, Raymond T. Chung, Esperance Schaefer, Russell Goodman, Suraj J. Patel, Jay Luther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Identifying the minority of patients with alcohol use disorder (AUD) who develop the wide spectrum of alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD), and risk-stratifying these patients, is of critical importance. High-Mobility Group Box 1 protein (HMGB1) is an alarmin that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple liver diseases. Its use as a biomarker for liver disease in those with AUD has not been studied. In this report, we investigated the association between serum HMGB1 and the presence, severity, and progression of ALD in two well-characterized cohorts of patients with AUD. In our discovery cohort of 80 patients, we found that patients with AUD and ALD exhibited higher serum HMGB1 levels compared to patients with AUD only (p = 0.0002). Additionally, serum HMGB1 levels were positively associated with liver disease severity (p < 0.0001). We found that index serum HMGB1 levels were associated with liver disease progression, defined by an increase in MELD score at 120 days (p = 0.0397). Serum HMGB1 was notable for its diagnostic and prognostic ability; it proved able to distinguish accurately between severe and non-severe forms of ALD in both our discovery cohort (AUC = 0.8199, p = 0.0003) and an independent validation cohort of 74 patients with AUD (AUC = 0.8818, p < 0.0001). Moreover, serum HMGB1 levels effectively predicted both liver-related readmission (AUC = 0.8849, p < 0.0001) and transplantation/death (AUC = 0.8614, p = 0.0002) at 90 days. The predictive potential of HMGB1 was also validated in an independent cohort of patients with AUD. Taken together, our results suggest that serum HMGB1 shows promise as a biologically relevant biomarker for ALD in patients with AUD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • HMGB1
  • alcohol use disorder
  • alcohol-associated liver disease
  • biomarkers
  • steatohepatitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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