Fundació URV

α-ketoglutarate as a predictor of morbid obesity-associated nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Posted by Fundació URVResponsive · Patents for licensing · Spain

Summary of the technology

• Use of α-ketoglutarate as a novel biomarker of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
• α-ketoglutarate analysis is a non-invasive quantitative measure of liver steatosis.
• This method may reduce the need for liver biopsy, particularly in patients with metabolic risk factor.
• The method could be used to design a kit to detect and quantify plasma α-ketoglutarate concentration.
• Measurement of this biomarker may be useful in the assessment of NAFLD progression.

Description of the technology

The Unit of Biomedical Research (CRB) of the Rovira i Virgili University has developed a new method based on the measurement of α-ketoglutarate as a new biomarker of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The measurement of this biomarker may potentiate the search for a therapeutic approach, may decrease the need for liver biopsy and may be useful in the assessment of disease progression.


The association of morbid obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) carries a severe impact on human health. Liver biopsy is the sole procedure to unequivocally assess NAFLD diagnosis and clinical progression. A no targeted metabolomics approach provided knowledge to discover that plasma α-ketoglutarate levels distinguish lean controls from obese patients. Circulating α-ketoglutarate is able to differentiate obese patients with steatosis from those without steatosis. An accurate quantification of circulating α-ketoglutarate segregates patients with different degrees of steatosis. The Unit of Biomedical Research (CRB) has developed a method for the accurate quantification of plasma α-ketoglutarate as a novel biomarker of NAFLD.

Main advantages of its use

  • It may reduce the need for liver biopsy, particularly in patients with metabolic risk factor. So, it is a non-invasive detection method.
  • Obese patients with steatosis can be distinguished from those without steatosi.
  • The method allows diagnosing NAFLD without doing a liver biopsy.
  • Use of plasma α-ketoglutarate concentration as a useful biomarker to identify the severity and/or occurrence of liver steatosis.


  • This technology is oriented to the biochemistry and clinical sector. Companies that develop commercial kits might be interested in this technology. α-Ketoglutaric measurement in serum could be a useful biomarker to identify the severity and/or occurrence of liver steatosis so it could be also applied to the discovery and development of novel therapeutic drugs and a better prediction of clinical outcomes.

Related keywords

  • Diagnostics, Diagnosis
  • Pharmaceutical Products / Drugs
  • Medical Technology / Biomedical Engineering
  • Medical Research
  • Biochemistry / Biophysics Technology
  • Clinical Research, Trials
  • Therapeutic services
  • Molecular diagnosis
  • Biochemistry / Biophysics Market
  • α-Ketoglutaric acid
  • biomarker
  • steatosis
  • morbid obesity

About Fundació URV

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