Correlation of Chlamydia pneumoniae infection with primary biliary cirrhosis.

Clinical Laboratory, General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Command of PLA, Guangzhou 510010, Guangdong Province, China.
World Journal of Gastroenterology (Impact Factor: 2.43). 07/2005; 11(26):4108-10.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To evaluate the association between Chlamydia pneumoniae (Cpn) infection and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC).
Cpn IgG and IgM were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 41 well-established PBC patients and two race-matched control groups (post-hepatitis cirrhosis, n = 70; healthy controls, n = 57).
The mean level and seroprevalence of Cpn IgG in PBC group and post-hepatitis cirrhosis (PHC) group were significantly higher than those in healthy controls (46.8+/-43.4 RU/mL, 49.5+/-45.2 RU/mL vs 28.3+/-32.7 RU/mL; 68.3%, 71.4%, 42.1%, respectively; P<0.05). There was a remarkably elevated seroprevalence of Cpn IgM in patients with PBC (22.0%) compared to the PHC and healthy control (HC) groups. For the PBC patients versus the HCs, the odds ratios (ORs) of the presence of Cpn IgG and IgM were 2.7 (95% CI 0.9-6.1) and 5.1 (95% CI 1.4-18.5), respectively. Though there was no correlation in the level of Cpn IgG with total IgG in sera of patients with PBC (r = -0.857, P = 0.344>0.05), Cpn IgM was related with the abnormally high concentrations of total IgM in PBC group.
The results of this study do not support the hypothesis that infection with Chlamydia pneumoniae may be a triggering agent or even a causative agent in PBC, but suggest that Chlamydia pneumoniae infection probably contributes to the high level of IgM present in most patients with PBC.

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    ABSTRACT: Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) would develop when the immune system comes across a microorganism with proteins similar to those in the piruvate dehydrogenase complex E2 (PDC-E2), or a neoantigen resulting from a xenobiotic-modified autoantigen. This would lead to an innate immune response where TLRs would play a pivotal mediating role, which would give rise to a local microenvironment favoring an adaptive immune response. Such response would be particularly strong in individuals with selected genetic characteristics. The genetic characteristics underlying this predisposition remain unknown, but they likely entail small numbers of scarcely-active regulatory T cells. The AE2 anion exchanger, which is deficient in patients with PBC, may reduce the number and activity of regulatory T cells. NK cells are also pivotal in the preparation of an adaptive response, as they release a number of cytokines and chemokines that favor and recruit antigen-presenting cells to activate B and T cells - CD4+ Th1 and CD8+. An activation of the former would increase the production of IgM and anti-mitochondrial IgG and IgA antibodies against PDC-E2. An activation of CD8+ cells, also sensitive to PDC-2 as aberrantly expressed on the surface of BECs and SECs, would result in apoptosis for these epithelial cells, and in small bile-duct destruction. Immune response is likely inadequately suppressed because of the small numbers of scarcely-active regulatory T cells, the latter resulting from low genetic expression and activity of the AE2 transporter.
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