Concurrent systemic AA amyloidosis can discriminate primary sclerosing cholangitis from IgG4-associated cholangitis.
ABSTRACT Chronic hepatobiliary inflammatory diseases are not widely acknowledged as underlying disorders of systemic AA amyloidosis, except epidemic schistosomiasis. Among them, primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) might initiate amyloid A protein deposition in diverse tissues, giving rise to systemic amyloidosis, due to a progressive and unresolved inflammatory process, and its possible association with inflammatory bowel diseases. Nevertheless, only one such case has been reported in the literature to date. We report a 69-year-old Japanese woman with cirrhosis who was diagnosed with PSC complicated with systemic AA amyloidosis, without any evidence of other inflammatory disorders. As a result of cholestasis in conjunction with biliary strictures and increased serum IgG4, the presence of IgG4(+) plasma cells was examined systemically, resulting in unexpected documentation of Congo-red-positive amyloid deposits, but not IgG4(+) plasma cells, in the liver, stomach and salivary glands. Elevated serum IgG4 is the hallmark of IgG4-related disease, including IgG4-associated cholangitis, but it has also been demonstrated in certain patients with PSC. Amyloid A deposits in multiple organs associated with an indolent clinical course that progresses over many years might have a diagnostic value in discriminating PSC from IgG4-associated cholangitis.