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Ann Med. 2004;36(8):606-17.

Molecular basis of intrahepatic cholestasis.

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  • 1Liver Center Laboratory and Department of Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California 94110, USA.


Intrahepatic cholestasis, or impairment of bile flow, is an important manifestation of inherited and acquired liver disease. In recent years, human genetic and molecular studies have identified several genes, the disruption of which results in cholestasis. ATP8B1 (FIC1), ABCB11 (BSEP), and ABCB4 (MDR3) are disrupted in forms of progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC) and related disorders. Mutations in BAAT, TJP2 (ZO-2), and EPHX1 have been identified in patients with hypercholanemia. A CLDN1 mutation was recently reported in patients with ichthyosis, leukocyte vacuoles, alopecia and sclerosing cholangitis (ILVASC), and North American Indian childhood cirrhosis (NAIC) is associated with a missense mutation in CIRH1A. Alagille syndrome patients carry mutations in JAG1, and mutations in VPS33B have been identified in patients with arthrogryposis, renal dysfunction and cholestasis syndrome (ARC). Identification of these genes, and characterization of the proteins they encode, is enhancing our understanding of the biology of the enterohepatic circulation in health and disease.

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