Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Gut. 2000 Jan;46(1):121-6.

Characterisation of patients with primary biliary cirrhosis responding to long term ursodeoxycholic acid treatment.

Author information

  • 1Centre of Internal Medicine, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.



In some patients with primary biliary cirrhosis, ursodeoxycholic acid causes full biochemical normalisation of laboratory data; in others, indexes improve but do not become normal.


To characterise complete and incomplete responders.


Seventy patients with primary biliary cirrhosis were treated with ursodeoxycholic acid 10-15 mg/kg/day and followed up for 6-13 years.


In 23 patients (33%) with mainly stage I or II disease, cholestasis indexes and aminotransferases normalised within 1-5 years, except for antimitochondrial antibodies. Histological findings improved. Indexes were not normalised in 47 patients (67%) although the improvement of their biochemical functions parallelled the trend in the first group. In these incomplete responders histological findings improved to a lesser extent. The only difference between the two groups before treatment was higher levels of alkaline phosphatase and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase in the incomplete responders. At onset of treatment the discriminant value separating responders from incomplete responders was 660 U/l for alkaline phosphatase and 131 U/l for gamma glutamyl transpeptidase. One year later it was 239 and 27 U/l (overall predictive value for responders 92%, for incomplete responders 81%). There were no differences between the two groups concerning immune status, antimitochondrial antibody subtypes, liver histology, or any other data. HLA-B39, DRB1*08, DQB1*04 dominated in both groups.


In patients with mainly early stages of primary biliary cirrhosis, higher values of alkaline phosphatase and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase are the only biochemical indexes which allow discrimination between patients who will completely or incompletely respond to ursodeoxycholic acid treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk