Prevalence of immune disturbances and chronic liver disease in family members of patients with primary biliary cirrhosis.
ABSTRACT Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) has been reported in up to 4-6% of first degree relatives of patients with the disease. In addition, immune abnormalities, including hypergammaglobulinemia, autoantibodies and increased frequency of autoimmune disorders, were reported in family members of PBC patients. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of PBC in relatives of patients with PBC, and to investigate the occurrence of chronic liver disease (CLD) and immune abnormalities in these subjects.
One-hundred first degree relatives of 26 patients with PBC were interviewed and submitted to physical examination and determination of liver enzymes, gamma-globulin, bilirubin and auto-antibodies, including antinuclear (ANA), antismooth muscle (SMA), antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA) by indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) and anti-M2 antibody by immunoblotting (IB).
Immune disturbances were rarely observed in relatives of PBC patients. Higher gamma-globulin levels, SMA and ANA were detected in four, eight and two family members, respectively. In most subjects, these autoantibodies were either in low titers or associated with concurrent diseases. Only four relatives had extrahepatic autoimmune diseases and another eight exhibited other CLD. Primary biliary cirrhosis was detected in a sister of one patient. Additionally, two other relatives of PBC patients who tested negative for AMA by IIF showed reactivity for anti-M2 by IB.
Immune disturbances, including ANA and SMA, are uncommon in family members of PBC patients. Conversely, anti-M2 antibodies and overt PBC do occur in relatives of PBC patients, even in Brazil where the disease is quite rare.
Article: Keratin variants are overrepresented in primary biliary cirrhosis and associate with disease severity.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Keratins (K) 8 and 18 variants predispose carriers to the development of end-stage liver disease and patients with chronic hepatitis C to disease progression. Hepatocytes express K8/K18, whereas biliary epithelia express K8/K18/K19. K8-null mice, which are predisposed to liver injury, spontaneously develop anti-mitochondrial antibodies (AMA) and have altered hepatocyte mitochondrial size and function. There is no known association of K19 with human disease and no known association of K8/K18/K19 with human autoimmune liver disease. We tested the hypothesis that K8/K18/K19 variants associate with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), an autoimmune cholestatic liver disease characterized by the presence of serum AMA. In doing so, we analyzed the entire exonic regions of K8/K18/K19 in 201 Italian patients and 200 control blood bank donors. Five disease-associated keratin heterozygous variants were identified in patients versus controls (K8 G62C/R341H/V380I, K18 R411H, and K19 G17S). Four variants were novel and included K19 G17S/V229M/N184N and K18 R411H. Overall, heterozygous disease-associated keratin variants were found in 17 of 201 (8.5%) PBC patients and 4 of 200 (2%) blood bank donors (P < 0.004, odds ratio = 4.53, 95% confidence interval = 1.5-13.7). Of the K19 variants, K19 G17S was found in three patients but not in controls and all K8 R341H (eight patients and three controls) associated with concurrent presence of the previously described intronic K8 IVS7+10delC deletion. Notably, keratin variants associated with disease severity (12.4% variants in Ludwig stage III/IV versus 4.2% in stages I/II; P < 0.04, odds ratio = 3.25, 95% confidence interval = 1.02-10.40), but not with the presence of AMA. CONCLUSION: K8/K18/K19 variants are overrepresented in Italian PBC patients and associate with liver disease progression. Therefore, we hypothesize that K8/K18/K19 variants may serve as genetic modifiers in PBC.Hepatology 09/2009; 50(2):546-54. · 11.66 Impact Factor
Article: Primary biliary cirrhosis.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic and slowly progressive cholestatic liver disease of autoimmune etiology characterized by injury of the intrahepatic bile ducts that may eventually lead to liver failure. Affected individuals are usually in their fifth to seventh decades of life at time of diagnosis, and 90% are women. Annual incidence is estimated between 0.7 and 49 cases per million-population and prevalence between 6.7 and 940 cases per million-population (depending on age and sex). The majority of patients are asymptomatic at diagnosis, however, some patients present with symptoms of fatigue and/or pruritus. Patients may even present with ascites, hepatic encephalopathy and/or esophageal variceal hemorrhage. PBC is associated with other autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren's syndrome, scleroderma, Raynaud's phenomenon and CREST syndrome and is regarded as an organ specific autoimmune disease. Genetic susceptibility as a predisposing factor for PBC has been suggested. Environmental factors may have potential causative role (infection, chemicals, smoking). Diagnosis is based on a combination of clinical features, abnormal liver biochemical pattern in a cholestatic picture persisting for more than six months and presence of detectable antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA) in serum. All AMA negative patients with cholestatic liver disease should be carefully evaluated with cholangiography and liver biopsy. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is the only currently known medication that can slow the disease progression. Patients, particularly those who start UDCA treatment at early-stage disease and who respond in terms of improvement of the liver biochemistry, have a good prognosis. Liver transplantation is usually an option for patients with liver failure and the outcome is 70% survival at 7 years. Recently, animal models have been discovered that may provide a new insight into the pathogenesis of this disease and facilitate appreciation for novel treatment in PBC.Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 02/2008; 3:1. · 5.83 Impact Factor