Research Group

  • Dr Cristina Legido-Quigley, Principal Investigator
  • Prof. Elaine Holmes, Collaborator
  • Dr Hector Vilca-Melendez, Collaborator
  • Dr Lindsay McDermott, Collaborator
  • Dr Norman Smith, Collaborator


  • King's College London, London, UK


  • Are Steroids, which Have Been Oxidised, Markers of Liver Quality for Transplant?

The search for biomarkers has become an increasingly pressing task in many fields of medicine, and as scientific techniques advance and become highly specialised it is essential to find new ways of combining and understanding increasing amounts of information. With respect to liver transplantation, advances in surgical techniques and immunosuppression have improved patient survival. However there is a risk of graft dysfunction to a degree where re-transplantation is necessary within days. As a consequence there is an urgent need for better peripheral markers to characterise intact livers and accurately reflect liver quality before the organ can be transplanted.

In a previous study, we identified a compound (steroid) that is related to liver function. As a preliminary result, it was found to be accumulated in bile prior to transplantation. There is now a need to assess in detail its metabolism and relevance to transplantation.

The three main stages – donor, surgical procedure and recipient – will be studied by collection of samples from transplantation procedures with and without complications. Highly specialised techniques such as lipidomics need to be applied to obtain maximum information from steroids and other compounds in the same class. These compounds are derived from cholesterol and follow several biochemical transformations in the body, some not fully described or understood. For these reasons, we will also combine data from small molecules found in the liver and in biofluids (bile, blood, urine) with genetic information to understand why and how liver dysfunction occurs.

Final Report