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1.  Risk Factors and Comorbidities in Primary Biliary Cirrhosis: A Controlled Interview-Based Study of 1032 Patients 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2005;42(5):1194-1202.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is an autoimmune disease of unknown etiology, often associated with other autoimmune conditions. Controlled studies have so far provided conflicting data on risk factors and comorbidity rates in PBC. We enrolled patients with PBC (n = 1032) from 23 tertiary referral centers for liver diseases in the United States and random-digit-dialed controls (n = 1041) matched for sex, age, race, and geographical location. Patients and controls were administered a modified version of the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES III) questionnaire by trained personnel to evaluate associations between PBC and social, demographic, personal and family medical histories, lifestyle, and reproductive factors and the rates of comorbidity in affected individuals. Data indicate that having a first-degree relative with PBC (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 10.736; 95% confidence interval 4.227–27.268), history of urinary tract infections (AOR 1.511, 95% CI 1.192–1.915), past smoking (AOR 1.569, 95% CI 1.292–1.905), or use of hormone replacement therapies (AOR 1.548, 95% CI 1.273–1.882) were significantly associated with increased risk of PBC. The frequent use of nail polish slightly increased the risk of having PBC. Other autoimmune diseases were found in 32% of cases and 13% of controls (P<0.0001). In conclusion, environmental factors, possibly including infectious agents through urinary tract infections or chemicals contained in cigarette smoke, may induce PBC in genetically susceptible individuals. Exogenous estrogens may also contribute to explain the female predominance of the disease.
doi:10.1002/hep.20907
PMCID: PMC3150736  PMID: 16250040
2.  Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Associated with Systemic Sclerosis: Diagnostic and Clinical Challenges 
Patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) often have concurrent limited systemic sclerosis (SSc). Conversely, up to one-fourth of SSc patients are positive for PBC-specific antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA). The mechanisms responsible for the co-occurrence of these diseases are largely unknown. Genetic, epigenetic, environmental, and infectious factors appear to be important for the pathogenesis of the disease, but the hierarchy of events are not well defined. Patients with SSc and PBC have an increased morbidity and mortality compared with the general population, but whether the presence of both diseases in an affected individual worsens the prognosis and/or outcome of either disease is not clear. Some case reports suggested that the presence of SSc in PBC patents is associated with a more favorable prognosis of the liver disease, whereas others report an increased mortality in patients with PBC and SSc compared to patients with PBC alone. This paper discusses the features of patients with PBC-associated SSc. Our aims are to clarify some of the pathogenetic, diagnostic, and clinical challenges that are currently faced in the routine management of these patients. We also intend to provide some practical hints for practitioners that will assist in the early identification of patients with PBC-associated SSc.
doi:10.1155/2011/976427
PMCID: PMC3236477  PMID: 22187566
3.  Rheumatoid Arthritis and Primary Biliary Cirrhosis: Cause, Consequence, or Coincidence? 
Arthritis  2012;2012:391567.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a progressive cholestatic liver disease characterized serologically by cholestasis and the presence of high-titre antimitochondrial antibodies and histologically by chronic nonsuppurative cholangitis and granulomata. PBC patients often have concomitant autoimmune diseases, including arthropathies. This raises the question as to whether there are shared features in the pathogenesis of those diseases with the pathogenesis of PBC. Epidemiological and large case studies have indicated that although the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is not significantly raised in PBC patients, there appears to be a higher rate of RA in PBC patients and their relatives. Genetic studies have demonstrated that several genes implicated in PBC have also been implicated in RA. Epigenetic studies provided a wealth of data regarding RA, but the findings on epigenetic changes in PBC are very limited. As well, certain infectious agents identified in the pathogenesis of PBC may also play a role in the pathogenesis of RA. These data suggest that although RA is not significantly present in PBC, some individuals with certain genetic traits and environmental exposures may develop both conditions. This concept may also apply to other concomitant diseases found in PBC patients.
doi:10.1155/2012/391567
PMCID: PMC3488395  PMID: 23150824
4.  Primary Biliary Cirrhosis: Family Stories 
Autoimmune Diseases  2011;2011:189585.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic immune-mediated cholestatic liver disease of unknown aetiology which affects mostly women in middle age. Familial PBC is when PBC affects more than one member of the same family, and data suggest that first-degree relatives of PBC patients have an increased risk of developing the disease. Most often, these familial clusters involve mother-daughter pairs, which is consistent with the female preponderance of the disease. These clusters provide evidence towards a genetic basis underlying PBC. However, clusters of nonrelated individuals have also been reported, giving strength to an environmental component. Twin studies have demonstrated a high concordance for PBC in monozygotic twins and a low concordance among dizygotic twins. In conclusion, studies of PBC in families clearly demonstrate that genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors play a role in the development of the disease.
doi:10.4061/2011/189585
PMCID: PMC3112499  PMID: 21687641
5.  Infectious Agents and Xenobiotics in the Etiology of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis 
Disease markers  2011;29(6):287-299.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC)is a chronic autoimmune cholestatic liver disease that manifests a latitudinal gradient in prevalence and incidence. The mechanisms leading to the initiation and perpetuation of PBC remain largely enigmatic, although it is established that a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental stimulation is required. PBC is also characterized by a high concordance rate in monozygotic twins and is considered a model autoimmune disease because of several features common to other conditions and the relatively homogeneous serological and biochemical features. From a diagnostic standpoint, PBC is characterized by the highest specificity of serum autoantibodies directed at mitochondrial proteins. Several risk factors have been suggested to be associated with PBC, including exposure to infectious agents and chemical xenobiotics that will be critically discussed in the present review article.
doi:10.3233/DMA-2010-0746
PMCID: PMC3835616  PMID: 21297248
6.  Geographic Clusters of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis 
Genetic and environmental factors have been widely suggested to contribute to the pathogenesis of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), an autoimmune disease of unknown etiology leading to destruction of small bile ducts. Interestingly, epidemiologic data indicate a variable prevalence of the disease in different geographical areas. The study of clusters of PBC may provide clues as to possible triggers in the induction of immunopathology. We report herein four such unique PBC clusters that suggest the presence of both genetic and environmental factors in the induction of PBC. The first cluster is represented by a family of ten siblings of Palestinian origin that have an extraordinary frequency of PBC (with 5/8 sisters having the disease). Second, we describe the cases of a husband and wife, both having PBC. A family in which PBC was diagnosed in two genetically unrelated individuals, who lived in the same household, represents the third cluster. Fourth, we report a high prevalence of PBC cases in a very small area in Alaska. Although these data are anedoctal, the study of a large number of such clusters may provide a tool to estimate the roles of genetics and environment in the induction of autoimmunity.
doi:10.1080/10446670310001626526
PMCID: PMC2485422  PMID: 14768943
7.  Primary biliary cirrhosis-specific autoantibodies in first degree relatives of Greek primary biliary cirrhosis patients 
AIM: To determine the prevalence and significance of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC)-specific autoantibodies in first-degree relatives (FDRs) of Greek PBC patients.
METHODS: The presence of antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA) and PBC-specific antinuclear antibodies (ANA) were determined using indirect immunofluorescence assays, dot-blot assays, and molecularly based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays in 101 asymptomatic for liver-related symptoms FDRs of 44 PBC patients. In order to specify our results, the same investigation was performed in 40 healthy controls and in a disease control group consisting of 40 asymptomatic for liver-related symptoms FDRs of patients with other autoimmune liver diseases namely, autoimmune hepatitis-1 or primary sclerosing cholangitis (AIH-1/PSC).
RESULTS: AMA positivity was observed in 19 (only 4 with abnormal liver function tests) FDRs of PBC patients and none of the healthy controls. The prevalence of AMA was significantly higher in FDRs of PBC patients than in AIH-1/PSC FDRs and healthy controls [18.8%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 12%-28.1% vs 2.5%, 95% CI: 0.1%-14.7%, P = 0.01; 18.8%, 95% CI: 12%-28.1% vs 0%, 95% CI: 0%-10.9%, P = 0.003, respectively]. PBC-specific ANA positivity was observed in only one FDR from a PSC patient. Multivariate analysis showed that having a proband with PBC independently associated with AMA positivity (odds ratio: 11.24, 95% CI: 1.27-25.34, P = 0.03) whereas among the investigated comorbidities and risk factors, a positive past history for urinary tract infections (UTI) was also independently associated with AMA detection in FDRs of PBC patients (odds ratio: 3.92, 95% CI: 1.25-12.35, P = 0.02).
CONCLUSION: In FDRs of Greek PBC patients, AMA prevalence is significantly increased and independently associated with past UTI. PBC-specific ANA were not detected in anyone of PBC FDRs.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v18.i34.4721
PMCID: PMC3442210  PMID: 23002341
Primary biliary cirrhosis; Antimitochondrial antibodies; Anti-gp210; Anti-sp100; Liver autoimmunity
8.  HLA IN PRIMARY BILIARY CIRRHOSIS: AN OLD STORY NOW REVIVING 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2011;54(2):714-723.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is an autoimmune biliary disease characterized by injury of small and medium size bile ducts eventually leading to liver cirrhosis and death. While the causes remain enigmatic, recent evidence has strengthened the importance of genetic factors in determining the susceptibility to the disease. Besides the strong heritability suggested by familial occurrence and monozygotic twins concordance, for decades there has not been a clear association with specific genes, with the only exception of a low risk conferred by a class II human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variant, the DRB1*08 allele, at least in some populations. Only recently the story began to change when a strong protective associations between PBC and the HLA DRB1*11 and DRB1*13 alleles were found in Italian and UK series. But HLA genes fully returned to attract interest thanks to recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) which clearly demonstrated that the major component of the genetic architecture of PBC are within the HLA region. As expected in a genetically complex disease, GWAS also identified several novel non-HLA variants, but it is to note that all of them are in immuno-related genes. In this review, the paradigmatic tale of what, and how, we learned about HLA genes in PBC will be retraced with particular focus on how GWAS are enabling us to rewrite the story of PBC pathogenesis. These recent discoveries will not only driving functional studies but will also held the promise of developing novel disease-specific treatments.
doi:10.1002/hep.24414
PMCID: PMC3145017  PMID: 21563204
Human leukocyte antigens; genetics; autoimmune liver disease; etiopathogenesis
9.  HLA and interleukin 1 gene polymorphisms in primary biliary cirrhosis: associations with disease progression and disease susceptibility 
Gut  2001;48(3):397-402.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS—Twin and family studies suggest that there is a genetic component to primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) but the genetic associations which have been described are weak with marked variations between centres. PBC is heterogeneous and genetic associations with disease progression may be obscured when the PBC population is analysed only as a whole and not subdivided.
METHODS—We have investigated two candidate gene loci in 164 well characterised patients, 88 (54%) of whom had advanced disease.
RESULTS—There was an increased frequency of the HLA DRB1*0801-DQA1*0401-DQB1*0402 haplotype in patients who had progressed to late stage disease (23% v 2% of controls; p=0000044; odds ratio (OR) 15.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.52-68.4) but not in those with early stage disease (4% v 2%). Patients had a higher frequency of the IL-1B*1,1 genotype and lower frequencies of the IL-1B*1,2 and *2,2 genotypes (p=0.00078; OR 2.37, 95% CI 1.38-4.06), and higher frequency of the IL-1RN*1,1 genotype and lower frequency of the IL-1RN*1,2 genotype (p=0.0011; OR 2.28, 95% CI 1.34-3.89). The difference in the IL-1B*1,1 genotype distribution was most marked in patients with early stage disease (77% v 43% of controls; p=0.000003; OR 4.8, 95% CI 2.31-10) but the IL-1RN genotype distribution was similar in patients with early and late stage disease.
CONCLUSIONS—These data indicate a complex relationship between immunoregulatory genes and PBC. While the IL-1 genes are markers of both disease susceptibility and progression, HLA genes appear to be principally associated with disease progression.


Keywords: human leucocyte antigens; primary biliary cirrhosis; interleukin 1
doi:10.1136/gut.48.3.397
PMCID: PMC1760119  PMID: 11171832
10.  Primary biliary cirrhosis is associated with a genetic variant in the 3’ flanking region of the CTLA4 gene 
Gastroenterology  2008;135(4):1200-1206.
Background and Aims
Genetic variation is invoked as a strong component underlying primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and other autoimmune disorders. Data suggests that some of this genetic risk is shared, affecting function of the immune mechanisms controlling self tolerance. Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA4) encodes a coinhibitory immunoreceptor that is a key regulator of self tolerance with established genetic associations to multiple autoimmune diseases, but conflicting evidence of involvement with PBC. We aimed to perform a more comprehensive assessment of CTLA4 genetic variation in PBC using a haplotype-tagging based approach.
Methods
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped in 402 PBC patients and 279 controls and evaluated for association with PBC, and with antimitochondrial antibody (AMA) status and prior orthotopic liver transplant (OLT) among the PBC patients, both individually and as inferred haplotypes, using logistic regression.
Results
All SNPs were in Hardy Weinberg Equilibrium. We identified a novel and relatively strong association between PBC and rs231725, a SNP in the 3’ flanking region of CTLA4 located outside of the area previously investigated in PBC. This SNP tags a common CTLA4 haplotype that contains a number of functionally implicated autoimmune CTLA4 SNPs, which was also found to be associated with PBC and to a lesser extent AMA status and prior OLT.
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that CTLA4 has an impact on the risk of PBC and possibly plays a role in influencing AMA development as well as progression to OLT among PBC patients. Replication in a suitable, independent PBC cohort is needed.
doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2008.06.077
PMCID: PMC2613835  PMID: 18778710
11.  Validation of coding algorithms for the identification of patients with primary biliary cirrhosis using administrative data 
BACKGROUND:
Large-scale epidemiological studies of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) have been hindered by difficulties in case ascertainment.
OBJECTIVE:
To develop coding algorithms for identifying PBC patients using administrative data – a widely available data source.
METHODS:
Population-based administrative databases were used to identify patients with a diagnosis code for PBC from 1994 to 2002. Coding algorithms for confirmed PBC (two or more of antimitochondrial antibody positivity, cholestatic liver biochemistry and/or compatible liver histology) were derived using chart abstraction data as the reference. Patients with a recorded PBC diagnosis but insufficient confirmatory data were classified as ‘suspected PBC’.
RESULTS:
Of 189 potential PBC cases, 119 (60%) had confirmed PBC and 28 (14%) had suspected PBC. The optimal algorithm including two or more uses of a PBC code had a sensitivity of 94% (95% CI 71% to 100%) and positive predictive values of 73% (95% CI 61% to 75%) for confirmed PBC, and 89% (95% CI 82% to 94%) for confirmed or suspected PBC. Sensitivity analyses revealed greater accuracy among women, and with the use of multiple data sources and one or more years of data. Inclusion of diagnosis codes for conditions frequently misclassified as PBC did not improve algorithm performance.
CONCLUSIONS:
Administrative databases can reliably identify patients with PBC and may facilitate epidemiological investigations of this condition.
PMCID: PMC2852223  PMID: 20352146
Database; Epidemiology; International Classification of Diseases; Liver diseases; Outcome assessment; Validation studies
12.  The association between primary biliary cirrhosis and coeliac disease: a study of relative prevalences 
Gut  1998;42(1):120-122.
Background—Coexistent primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and coeliac disease has been recorded but the association has not been systematically studied. 
Aims—To determine relative prevalences of PBC and coeliac disease in a defined population over a 12 year period. 
Patients and methods—All patients with PBC or coeliac disease in a stable population of 250 000 in South Wales were identified from a clinical register and laboratory records. 
Results—Sixty seven patients with PBC and 143 patients with coeliac disease have been diagnosed and followed over a median of 86 (4-135) months; point prevalences in 1996 were 20 per 100 000 for PBC and 54 per 100 000 for coeliac disease. PBC in patients with coeliac disease was sought by investigating abnormal liver function tests. Ten (7%) had persistent abnormalities and three had PBC. Coeliac disease in patients with PBC was sought by investigating malabsorption, haematinic deficiency, positive antigliadin antibody, or coeliac disease family history. Eleven patients underwent duodenal biopsy revealing one further coeliac disease case. Four patients (three women) have both conditions giving a point prevalence for patients with both conditions of 1.6 per 100 000 (95% confidence limits 0.44 to 4.1 per 100 000). Prevalence of PBC in patients with coeliac disease was 3% and of coeliac disease in patients with PBC was 6%. 
Conclusion—A 12 year study of a stable 250 000 population revealed a relative prevalence of PBC in 3% of 143 patients with coeliac disease and of coeliac disease in 6% of 67 patients with PBC. PBC and coeliac disease are therefore associated. Screening for PBC in patients with coeliac disease using antimitochondrial antibody testing and screening for coeliac disease in patients with PBC with antigliadin antibody testing or duodenal biopsy are recommended. 


Keywords: primary biliary cirrhosis; coeliac disease; prevalence
PMCID: PMC1726939  PMID: 9518232
13.  Carriage of a Tumor Necrosis Factor Polymorphism Amplifies the Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte Antigen 4 Attributed Risk of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis: Evidence for a Gene–Gene Interaction 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2010;52(1):223-229.
Common genetic variants significantly influence complex diseases such as primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). We recently reported an association between PBC and a single nucleotide polymorphism (rs231725) of the immunoreceptor gene cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA4). We hypothesized that PBC risk attributed to this polymorphism might be increased by propensity to an overly robust inflammatory response. Thus, we examined its potential interaction with the commonly studied −308AG promoter polymorphism (rs1800629) of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) gene for which the variant TNF2A allele causes increased TNF production. The polymorphisms were genotyped in 866 PBC patients and 761 controls from independent US and Canadian registries; the effects of individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and their interaction on PBC risk was assessed by logistic regression. The reported association of PBC with the CTLA4 “A/A” genotype was replicated in the Canadian cohort and significant for PBC risk in the combined data (odds ratio [OR], 1.68; P = 0.0005). TNF2A allele frequency was elevated in PBC patients, but only reached borderline significance using the combined data (OR, 1.21; P = 0.042). Analysis showed that TNF2A carriage was significantly increased in CTLA4 “A/A” PBC patients compared with CTLA4 “A/A” controls (39.7% versus 16.5%, P = 0.0004); no apparent increase of TNF2A carriage was noted in CTLA4 “A/G” or “G/G” individuals. Finally, interaction under a logistic model was highly significant, as TNF2A carriage in combination with the CTLA4 “A/A” genotype was present in 6.5% of PBC patients, compared with 1.7% of controls (OR, 3.98; P < 0.0001).
Conclusion
TNF2A amplifies the CTLA4 rs231725 “A/A” genotype risk for PBC. Although the mechanisms remain unclear, the premise that deficiency in T-cell regulation resulting in an increased risk of PBC is amplified by overexpression of an important proinflammatory cytokine provides a basis for future functional studies.
doi:10.1002/hep.23667
PMCID: PMC2922843  PMID: 20578265
14.  Epigenetic investigation of variably X chromosome inactivated genes in monozygotic female twins discordant for primary biliary cirrhosis 
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is an autoimmune chronic cholestatic liver disease with a strong genetic susceptibility due to the high concordance in monozygotic (MZ) twins and a striking female predominance. Women with PBC manifest an enhanced X monosomy rate in peripheral lymphocytes and we thus hypothesized an X chromosome epigenetic component to explain PBC female prevalence. While most genes on the female inactive X chromosome are silenced by promoter methylation following X chromosome inactivation (XCI), approximately 10% of X-linked genes exhibit variable escape from XCI in healthy females. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that susceptibility to PBC is modified by one or more X-linked gene with variable XCI status. Peripheral blood mRNA and DNA samples were obtained from a unique cohort of MZ twin sets discordant and concordant for PBC. Transcript levels of the 125 variable XCI status genes were determined by quantitative RT-PCR analysis and two genes (CLIC2 and PIN4) were identified as consistently downregulated in the affected twin of discordant pairs. Both CLIC2 and PIN4 demonstrated partial and variable methylation of CpG sites within 300 bp of the transcription start site that did not predict the XCI status. Promoter methylation of CLIC2 manifested no significant difference between samples and no significant correlation with transcript levels. PIN4 methylation showed a positive trend with transcription in all samples but no differential methylation was observed between discordant twins. A genetic polymorphism affecting the number of CpG sites in the PIN4 promoter did not impact methylation or transcript levels in a heterozygous twin pair and showed a similar frequency in independent series of unrelated PBC cases and controls. Our results suggest that epigenetic factors influencing PBC onset are more complex than methylation differences at X-linked promoters and variably inactivated X-linked genes may be characterized by partial promoter methylation and biallelic transcription.
doi:10.4161/epi.6.1.13405
PMCID: PMC3029486  PMID: 20864813
autoimmune cholangitis; X chromosome inactivation; DNA methylation; gene regulation; gene promoter
15.  Epigenetic investigation of variably X chromosome inactivated genes in monozygotic female twins discordant for primary biliary cirrhosis 
Epigenetics  2011;6(1):95-102.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is an autoimmune chronic cholestatic liver disease with a strong genetic susceptibility due to the high concordance in monozygotic (MZ) twins and a striking female predominance. Women with PBC manifest an enhanced X monosomy rate in peripheral lymphocytes and we thus hypothesized an X chromosome epigenetic component to explain PBC female prevalence. While most genes on the female inactive X chromosome are silenced by promoter methylation following X chromosome inactivation (XCI), approximately 10% of X-linked genes exhibit variable escape from XCI in healthy females. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that susceptibility to PBC is modified by one or more X-linked gene with variable XCI status. Peripheral blood mRNA and DNA samples were obtained from a unique cohort of MZ twin sets discordant and concordant for PBC. Transcript levels of the 125 variable XCI status genes were determined by quantitative RT-PCR analysis and two genes (CLIC2 and PIN4) were identified as consistently downregulated in the affected twin of discordant pairs. Both CLIC2 and PIN4 demonstrated partial and variable methylation of CpG sites within 300 bp of the transcription start site that did not predict the XCI status. Promoter methylation of CLIC2 manifested no significant difference between samples and no significant correlation with transcript levels. PIN4 methylation showed a positive trend with transcription in all samples but no differential methylation was observed between discordant twins. A genetic polymorphism affecting the number of CpG sites in the PIN4 promoter did not impact methylation or transcript levels in a heterozygous twin pair and showed a similar frequency in independent series of unrelated PBC cases and controls. Our results suggest that epigenetic factors influencing PBC onset are more complex than methylation differences at X-linked promoters and variably inactivated X-linked genes may be characterized by partial promoter methylation and biallelic transcription.
doi:10.4161/epi.6.1.13405
PMCID: PMC3029486  PMID: 20864813
autoimmune cholangitis; X chromosome inactivation; DNA methylation; gene regulation; gene promoter
16.  B CELL DEPLETION THERAPY EXACERBATES MURINE PRIMARY BILIARY CIRRHOSIS 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2010;53(2):527-535.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is considered a model autoimmune disease due to the clinical homogeneity of patients and the classic hallmark of anti-mitochondrial antibodies (AMAS). Indeed, the presence of AMAS is the most highly directed and specific autoantibody in autoimmune diseases. However, the contribution of B cells to the pathogenesis of PBC is unclear. Thus, although AMAs appear to interact with the biliary cell apotope and contribute to biliary pathology, there is no correlation of disease severity and titer of AMA. The recent development of well characterized mAbs specific for the B cell populations, anti-CD20 and anti-CD79, and the development of a well defined xenobiotic induced model of autoimmune cholangitis, prompted us to utilize these reagents and the model to address the contribution of B cells in the pathogenesis of murine PBC. Prior to the induction of autoimmune cholangitis, mice were treated with either anti-CD20, anti-CD79, or isotype matched control mAb and followed for B cell development, the appearance of AMAs, liver pathology and cytokine production. Results of the studies reported herein show that the in vivo depletion of B cells using either anti-CD20 or anti-CD79 led to the development of a more severe form of cholangitis than control mice which is in contrast with results from a number of other autoimmune models which have documented an important therapeutic role of B cell specific depletion. The anti-CD20/CD79 treated mice have increased liver T cell infiltrates and higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. In conclusion, our results reflect a novel disease protective role of B cells in PBC and suggest that B cell depletion therapy in humans with PBC should be approached with caution.
doi:10.1002/hep.24044
PMCID: PMC3058242  PMID: 21274873
17.  Twelve-Year-Old Girl with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis 
Case Reports in Pediatrics  2012;2012:937150.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a slowly progressive cholestatic liver disease of autoimmune etiology. The initial presentation of PBC is varies from asymptomatic, abnormal liver biochemical tests to overt cirrhosis. Unlike other autoimmune liver diseases, PBC has rarely been reported in childhood. We report a case of primary biliary cirrhosis in a 12-year-old girl. In addition to characteristic histology features, strongly positive antimitochondrial antibodies, increased liver enzyme levels, increased serum quantitative immunoglobulin M levels, and cholestasis were discovered. She had been treated with ursodeoxycholic acid. In the world literature, we found only few pediatric patients of primary biliary cirrhosis. Aetiology, pathogenesis, the long-term natural history, and prognosis remain obscure. Due to increased awareness of early-onset PBC, rather than typical older ones, further pediatric cases may be discovered.
doi:10.1155/2012/937150
PMCID: PMC3515888  PMID: 23243543
18.  Quality of Life and Everyday Activities in Patients with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2007;46(6):1836-1843.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is generally a slowly progressive disease that may lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. However, patients with PBC often suffer from a variety of symptoms long before the development of cirrhosis that include issues of daily living that have an impact on their work environment and their individual quality of life. We therefore examined multiple parameters by taking advantage of the database of our cohort of 1032 patients with PBC and 1041 matched controls. The data were obtained from patients from 23 tertiary referral centers throughout the United States and from rigorously matched controls by age, sex, ethnicity, and random-digit dialing. The data showed that patients with PBC were more likely than controls to have significant articular symptoms, a reduced ability to perform household chores, and the need for help with routine activities. Patients with PBC rated their overall activity similar or superior to that of controls; however, more of them reported limitations in their ability to carry out activities at work or at home and difficulties in everyday activities. PBC cases also more frequently reported limitations in participating in certain sports or exercises and pursuing various hobbies; however, they did not report significant limitations in social activities. In a multivariable analysis, household income, a diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus, limitations in work activities, a reduction in work secondary to disability, and church attendance were independently increased in PBC cases with respect to controls.
Conclusion
Our data indicate that the quality of life of patients with PBC in the United States is generally well preserved. Nevertheless, patients with PBC suffer significantly more than controls from a variety of symptoms that are beyond the immediate impact of liver failure and affect their lifestyle, personal relationships, and work activities.
doi:10.1002/hep.21953
PMCID: PMC3148769  PMID: 18027862
19.  Primary biliary cirrhosis and Sjogren's syndrome: Autoimmune epithelitis 
Journal of autoimmunity  2011;39(1-2):34-42.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) has been often coined a model autoimmune disease based on the homogeneity amongst patients, the frequency and similarity of antimitochondrial antibodies, including the highly directed immune response to pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDC-E2). A significant number of patients with PBC suffer from sicca and amongst these, there are patients who also have classic Sjogren's syndrome. Indeed, both PBC and Sjogren's syndrome are characterized by inflammation of target epithelial elements. Both diseases can be considered on the basis of a number of other related clinical aspects, including proposed unique apoptotic features of the target tissue, the role of secretory IgA, and the frequency with which both diseases overlap with each other. Indeed, PBC may be considered a Sjogren's syndrome of the liver, whereas Sjogren's syndrome can be equally discussed as PBC of the salivary glands. Dissection of the genetic predispositions for both diseases and especially the molecular basis of effector mechanisms, will become critical elements in developing new therapies.
doi:10.1016/j.jaut.2011.11.005
PMCID: PMC3568660  PMID: 22178199
Apoptosis; autoantibodies; epithelium; inflammation
20.  Sex Differences Associated with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis 
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a cholestatic liver disease of autoimmune origin, characterised by the destruction of small intrahepatic bile ducts. The disease has an unpredictable clinical course but may progress to fibrosis and cirrhosis. The diagnostic hallmark of PBC is the presence of disease-specific antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA), which are pathognomonic for the development of PBC. The disease overwhelmingly affects females, with some cases of male PBC being reported. The reasons underlying the low incidence of males with PBC are largely unknown. Epidemiological studies estimate that approximately 7–11% of PBC patients are males. There does not appear to be any histological, serological, or biochemical differences between male and female PBC, although the symptomatology may differ, with males being at higher risk of life-threatening complications such as gastrointestinal bleeding and hepatoma. Studies on X chromosome and sex hormones are of interest when studying the low preponderance of PBC in males; however, these studies are far from conclusive. This paper will critically analyze the literature surrounding PBC in males.
doi:10.1155/2012/610504
PMCID: PMC3369468  PMID: 22693524
21.  Common Genetic Variation and Haplotypes of the Anion Exchanger SLC4A2 in Primary Biliary Cirrhosis 
Objectives
Deficiencies of the anion exchanger SLC4A2 are thought to play a pathogenic role in primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), evidenced by decreased expression and activity in PBC patients and development of disease features in SLC4A2 knockout mice. We hypothesized that genetic variation in SLC4A2 might influence this pathogenic contribution. Thus, we aimed to perform a comprehensive assessment of SLC4A2 genetic variation in PBC using a linkage disequilibrium (LD)-based haplotype-tagging approach.
Methods
Twelve single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across SLC4A2 were genotyped in 409 PBC patients and 300 controls and evaluated for association with disease, as well as with prior orthotopic liver transplant and antimitochondrial antibody (AMA) status among the PBC patients, both individually and as inferred haplotypes, using logistic regression.
Results
All SNPs were in Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium. No associations with disease or liver transplantation were detected, but two variants, rs2303929 and rs3793336, were associated with negativity for antimitochondrial antibodies among the PBC patients.
Conclusions
The common genetic variation of SLC4A2 does not directly affect the risk of PBC or its clinical outcome. Whether the deficiency of SLC4A2 expression and activity observed earlier in PBC patients is an acquired epiphenomenon of underlying disease or is because of heritable factors in unappreciated regulatory regions remains uncertain. Of note, two SLC4A2 variants appear to influence AMA status among PBC patients. The mechanisms behind this finding are unclear.
doi:10.1038/ajg.2009.103
PMCID: PMC2853916  PMID: 19491853
22.  Primary Biliary Cirrhosis 
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is an idiopathic chronic autoimmune liver disease that primarily affects women. It is believed that the etiology for PBC is a combination between environmental triggers in genetically vulnerable persons. The diagnosis for PBC is made when two of the three criteria are fulfilled and they are: (1) biochemical evidence of cholestatic liver disease for at least 6 month’s duration; (2) anti-mitochondrial antibody (AMA) positivity; and (3) histologic features of PBC on liver biopsy. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is the only FDA-approved medical treatment for PBC and should be administered at a recommended dose of 13-15mg/kg/day. Unfortunately despite adequate dosing of UDCA, approximately one-third of patients does not respond adequately and may require liver transplantation. Future studies are necessary to elucidate the role of environmental exposures and overall genetic impact not only in the development of PBC, but on disease progression and variable clinical response to therapy.
doi:10.1016/j.bpg.2010.07.006
PMCID: PMC2958170  PMID: 20955967
cholestasis; bile ducts; genetics; natural history
23.  Xenobiotics and Autoimmunity: Does Acetaminophen Cause Primary Biliary Cirrhosis? 
Trends in molecular medicine  2012;18(10):577-582.
The serologic hallmark of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is the presence of antimitochondrial autoantibodies (AMA) directed against the E2 subunit of PDC-E2. The PBC-related autoepitope of PDC-E2 contains lipoic acid, and previous work has demonstrated that mimics of lipoic acid following immunization of mice lead to a PBC-like disease. Furthermore, approximately one third of patients who have ingested excessive amounts of acetaminophen (paracetamol) develop AMA of the same specificity as patients with PBC. Quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) data indicates that acetaminophen metabolites are particularly immunoreactive with AMA, and we submit that in genetically susceptible hosts, electrophilic modification of lipoic acid in PDC-E2 by acetaminophen or similar drugs can facilitate a loss of tolerance and lead to the development of PBC.
doi:10.1016/j.molmed.2012.07.005
PMCID: PMC3465509  PMID: 22920894
24.  Natural history and management of primary biliary cirrhosis 
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that mainly targets the cholangiocytes of the interlobular bile ducts in the liver. It is a rare disease with prevalence of less than one in 2000. Its prevalence in developing countries is increasing presumably because of growth in recognition and knowledge of the disease. PBC is thought to result from a combination of multiple genetic factors and superimposed environmental triggers. The contribution of the genetic predisposition is evidenced by familial clustering. Several risk factors, including exposure to infectious agents and chemical xenobiotics, have been suggested. Common symptoms of the disease are fatigue and pruritus, but most patients are asymptomatic at first presentation. The prognosis of PBC has improved because of early diagnosis and use of ursodeoxycholic acid, the only established medical treatment for this disorder. When administered at adequate doses of 13–15 mg/kg/day, up to two out of three patients with PBC may have a normal life expectancy without additional therapeutic measures. However, some patients do not respond adequately to ursodeoxycholic acid and might need alternative therapeutic approaches.
doi:10.2147/HMER.S25998
PMCID: PMC3846599  PMID: 24367233
primary biliary cirrhosis; natural history; long-term outcome; ursodeoxycholic acid; biochemical response; target therapy
25.  Tuberculosis Is Not a Risk Factor for Primary Biliary Cirrhosis: A Review of the Literature 
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a progressive cholestatic liver disease characterised serologically by cholestasis and the presence of high-titre antimitochondrial antibodies, and histologically by chronic nonsuppurative cholangitis and granulomata. As PBC is a granulomatous disease and Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the most frequent cause of granulomata, a causal relation between tuberculosis and PBC has been suggested. Attempts to find serological evidence of PBC-specific autoantibodies such as AMA have been made and, conversely, granulomatous livers from patients with PBC have been investigated for molecular evidence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This paper discusses in detail the reported data in support or against an association between Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and PBC. We discuss the immunological and microbiological data exploring the association of PBC with exposure to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We also discuss the findings of large epidemiologic studies investigating the association of PBC with preexistent or concomitant disorders and the relevance of these findings with tuberculosis. Genome-wide association studies in patients with tuberculosis as well as in patients with PBC provide conclusive hints regarding the assumed association between exposure to this mycobacterium and the induction of PBC. Analysis of these data suggest that Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an unlikely infectious trigger of PBC.
doi:10.1155/2012/218183
PMCID: PMC3504403  PMID: 23213506

Results 1-25 (646860)