Breath biomarkers and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Preliminary observations

S. F. Solga, A. Alkhuraishe, K. Cope, A. Tabesh, J. M. Clark, M. Torbenson, P. Schwartz, T. Magnuson, A. M. Diehl, T. H. Risby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Breath biomarkers have the potential to offer information that is similar to conventional clinical tests or they are entirely unique. Preliminary data support the use of breath biomarkers in the study of liver disease, in particular non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). It was evaluated whether breath ethanol, ethane, sulfur compounds and acetone would be associated with hepatic histopathology amongst morbidly obese patients presenting for bariatric surgery. Breath samples were collected during a preoperative visit and compared with liver biopsies obtained during the surgery. A Student's two-tailed t-test was used to compare differences between the two groups. Linear regression was used to analyse associations between the concentrations of breath molecules and independent predictor variables. It was found that breath ethanol, ethane and acetone can be useful biomarkers in patients with NAFLD. In particular, breath ethanol can be associated with hepatic steatosis, and breath acetone can be associated with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-183
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Biomarker
  • Breath
  • Liver disease
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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