Background: Hepapoietin is a naturally occurring cytokine that promotes hepatocyte growth. Animal studies have suggested that hepapoietin and hepatocyte growth factor have a potential role in the prevention and management of liver diseases. However, human studies have been lacking. Aim: To evaluate the safety and pharmacokinetics of single escalating doses of hepapoietin in patients with chronic liver disease. Methods: An open-label, single escalating dose trial with five different doses of hepapoietin (1. 3, 10. 30 and 100 mg) was performed. Adults with chronic, compensated, non-viral liver disease were included. Liver function tests were obtained before dosing, 24 h after hepapoietin administration and on days 4. 7, 30 and 45. All patients were followed for 45 days. Results: Twenty-five subjects received hepapoietin, with five subjects each at 1, 3, 10, 30 and 100 mg of hepapoietin. Significant decreases occurred in total bilirubin, ammonia, partial thromboplastin time and cholesterol levels overall, and both high-density and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol showed a downward trend. An increase in albumin was observed at the 30 mg dose level. Slight decreases in haemoglobin and red blood cell levels were observed at day 4, but returned to normal levels immediately thereafter. Child-Pugh scores from day 0 to day 7 were improved in 24%, stable in 64% and worse in 12% of patients. Hepatic encephalopathy displayed changes from day 0 to day 45 with improvement in 16%, no change in 80% and worsening in 4%. Conclusions: Hepapoietin in doses up to 100 mg is safe for use in humans. Potential benefits are suggested by significant decreases in bilirubin, ammonia, partial thromboplastin time and cholesterol levels and an increase in albumin. Further studies with multiple dosing regimens are needed to identify the clinical utility of hepapoietin in the management of chronic liver disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)