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J Hepatol. 1994 Apr;20(4):500-7.

Is there recurrence of primary biliary cirrhosis after liver transplantation? A clinicopathologic study in long-term survivors.

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  • 1University Hospital Groningen, Department of Pathology, The Netherlands.


Liver transplantation has been accepted as a successful therapeutic tool for irreversible liver diseases such as primary biliary cirrhosis. However, removal of the diseased liver may not eliminate this autoimmune disease, and recurrence of primary biliary cirrhosis in the liver graft has been reported as early as within the first posttransplant year. We studied whether or not primary biliary cirrhosis recurs after liver transplantation in follow-up biopsies of 19 primary biliary cirrhosis patients. Biopsies of 14 non-primary biliary cirrhosis patients served as controls. The median follow-up period was 5 years (range 1-11 years). Both groups of patients were selected according to strict criteria which excluded pre- and posttransplant diseases which could mimic primary biliary cirrhosis. The follow-up biopsies were taken according to a protocol at yearly intervals. Established histologic criteria for primary biliary cirrhosis were assessed semi-quantitatively in 119 biopsies in a coded fashion. A longitudinal study was performed after decoding the biopsies, to document the course of morphological changes in time per patient. In addition to data on liver tests and immunosuppression, anti-mitochondrial antibodies including the primary biliary cirrhosis specific subtypes (anti-PDH-E2 and BCKD-E2) were determined in freeze-stored serum samples. The biopsies showed a striking concordance between the primary biliary cirrhosis and non-primary biliary cirrhosis groups and few overt histologic abnormalities. There was no significant difference in liver-test results and immunosuppression. Overall anti-mitochondrial antibodies remained present in decreased titers.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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