Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic cholestatic disease characterized by a striking predominance in female patients (with most cases diagnosed between ages 40 and 60 yr) as well as serum auto-antibodies to mitochondrial antigens, elevated serum immunoglobulin M, progressive destruction of intrahepatic bile ducts, and, ultimately, liver cirrhosis and failure (1). The precise mechanisms leading to selective destruction of biliary epithelial cells lining intrahepatic bile ducts are still unknown, although numerous immunomediated pathways have been proposed. Genetic background appears to be important in determining susceptibility to the disease (2), but no clear association with alleles in the major histocompatibility complex has been identified. Molecular mimicry either by infections (3) or xenobiotics (4) has been proposed to be capable of breaking tolerance in genetically predisposed individuals, thus leading to onset of PBC. This article describes and discusses the available data regarding the immunomediated pathogenesis of PBC (with particular attention to auto-antibodies and autoreactive T-cells) and presents the recent evidence indicating a role for either xenobiotic chemicals or novel infectious agents in the induction of the disease.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2005|
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy