The Spectrum of Hepatic Involvement in Patients With Telomere Disease

Devika Kapuria, Gil Ben-Yakov, Rebecca Ortolano, Min Ho Cho, Or Kalchiem-Dekel, Varun Takyar, Shilpa Lingala, Naveen Gara, Michele Tana, Yun Ju Kim, David E. Kleiner, Neal S. Young, Danielle M. Townsley, Christopher Koh, Theo Heller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Loss-of-function mutations in genes that encode for components of the telomere repair complex cause accelerated telomere shortening. Hepatic involvement has been recognized as a cause of morbidity in telomere diseases, but very few studies have characterized the nature and extent of liver involvement in affected patients. We report the prevalence and characteristics of liver involvement in a large cohort of patients with telomere disease evaluated serially at the National Institutes of Health. One hundred twenty-one patients with known or suspected telomere disease were screened; 40 patients with liver involvement were included in the current study. Median follow-up was 2.4 years. Data were collected regarding their demographic information, laboratory analysis, imaging, and histopathology. Forty patients (40% of the cohort) with a median age of 42 years were found to have liver involvement. Liver enzyme elevation was cholestatic in pattern; 8 (21%) had drug-related enzyme elevations. The most common imaging finding was increased hepatic echogenicity on ultrasound in 39% (9) of patients, followed by hepatomegaly in 26% (6). Biopsies were infrequent because of risk associated with thrombocytopenia, but in 6 patients, there were varying findings: nodular regenerative hyperplasia, steatohepatitis, hemosiderosis, cholestasis, and cirrhosis with hepatic steatosis. Almost half the cohort had pulmonary diffusion abnormalities, and 25% died during the follow-up period. Conclusion: In patients with telomere disease, hepatic involvement is common and can present in diverse ways, including elevated liver enzymes as well as histopathologic and imaging abnormalities. Liver disease has important implications for morbidity and mortality in patients with telomere disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2579-2585
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


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