The peptide apelin is expressed in human healthy livers and is implicated in the development of hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis. Mutations in the bone morphogenetic protein receptor type II (BMPR-II) result in reduced plasma levels of apelin in patients with heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension. Ligands for BMPR-II include bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP9), highly expressed in liver, and BMP10, expressed in heart and to a lesser extent liver. However, it is not known whether reductions in BMP9 and/or BMP10, with associated reduction in BMPR-II signalling, correlate with altered levels of apelin in patients with liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. Plasma from patients with liver fibrosis (n = 14), cirrhosis (n = 56), and healthy controls (n = 25) was solid-phase extracted using a method optimised for recovery of apelin, which was measured by ELISA. Plasma apelin was significantly reduced in liver fibrosis (8.3 ± 1.2 pg/ml) and cirrhosis (6.5 ± 0.6 pg/ml) patients compared with controls (15.4 ± 2.0 pg/ml). There was no obvious relationship between apelin and BMP 9 or BMP10 previously measured in these patients. Within the cirrhotic group, there was no significant correlation between apelin levels and disease severity scores, age, sex, or treatment with β-blockers. Apelin was significantly reduced in plasma of patients with both early (fibrosis) and late-stage (cirrhosis) liver disease. Fibrosis is more easily reversible and may represent a potential target for new therapeutic interventions. However, it remains unclear whether apelin signalling is detrimental in liver disease or is beneficial and therefore, whether an apelin antagonist or agonist have clinical use. Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.