Centrilobular ductular reaction correlates with fibrosis stage and fibrosis progression in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

Lei Zhao, Maria Westerhoff, Rish K. Pai, Won Tak Choi, Zu Hua Gao, John Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


There is increasing interest in the role of ductular reaction as part of the pathogenesis and characteristic histology of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. However, earlier studies did not separately assess the contribution of periportal and centrilobular zone ductular reaction over the spectrum of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, and their clinical significance remains unclear. We herein analyzed the character of ductular reaction in each hepatic zone in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis biopsies and for the first time evaluated the prognostic value of ductular reaction in baseline biopsies as a predictor of progression of fibrosis in subsequent biopsies. A total of 90 non-alcoholic steatohepatitis liver biopsies were included in the cohort. The relationships among ductular reaction, grade, stage, and other common histopathologic findings in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis were analyzed in a cross-sectional manner. Among these patients, a total of 47 patients underwent sequential liver biopsies in the absence of effective treatment. The frequency of ductular reaction and the other histopathologic parameters in the initial biopsies were analyzed as predictors of progression of fibrosis in the second biopsies in a longitudinal analysis. Centrilobular ductular reaction was identified in 90% of patients and 38% of centrilobular zones. The prevalence of centrilobular ductular reaction increased as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis grade increased (P=0.0002) and also as stage of fibrosis increased (P<0.0001) in the cross-sectional study. In the longitudinal study, the frequency of centrilobular ductular reaction in the initial biopsies was significantly higher in the group of progressors and correlated with the rate of fibrosis progression (P=0.02). Centrilobular ductular reaction is common in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and its presence correlates significantly with increasing necroinflammatory activity and fibrosis stage. Development of centrilobular ductular reaction appears to predict progression of fibrosis in subsequent biopsies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-159
Number of pages10
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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