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Anti-parietal cell autoantibodies (PCA) in primary biliary cirrhosis: a putative marker for recurrence after orthotopic liver transplantation?

Sandra Ciesek, Thomas Becker, Michael P. Manns, Christian P. Strassburg


Introduction. Liver transplantation (OLT) for primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is characterized by disease recurrence of up to one third of patients. The diagnosis of recurrence requires a cholestatic profile and a typical histology representing a challenge for transplant hepatologists. Antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA) establish the initial diagnosis, persist after OLT, and are thus of limited value for the diagnosis of recurrence. Aim of this analysis was to identify serological parameters associated with recurrent PBC. Patients and methods. OLT performed between 1992 and 2006 at Hannover Medical School were evaluated retrospectively including histology before and after OLT, autoimmune serological parameters and clinical characteristics. Results. Between 1992 and 2006 72 patients underwent OLT with histologically confirmed PBC. Median follow up was 123 months. AMA persisted in 55 (76%) patients. Anti-parietal cell antibodies (PCA) were detectable in 41% of the patients before and 47% after OLT. Liver biopsies were obtained in 34 patients post OLT upon clinical suspicion, and recurrent PBC diagnosed in 28% after a mean of 71 months (range 13-161). Anti-PCA were detected in 100% of patients with recurrence before and following transplantation, 54% of patients with anti-PCA before OLT developed recurrence during follow-up. There were no differences in immunosuppressive regimen. Discussion. Although unspecific for the diagnosis of PBC, anti-PCA prevalence increased after OLT, and was 100% in patients with recurrent PBC. Recurrent PBC developed in 54% of patients with anti-PCA before OLT suggesting a diagnostic role of anti-PCA as a simple and cost effective marker of recurrence.

Key words. Primary biliary cirrhosis, Autoantibodies, PCA, Orthotopic liver transplantation, Anti-parietal cell autoantibodies

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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