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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1999 Jun;11(6):607-15.

Evidence-based therapy of primary biliary cirrhosis.

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Department of Medicine, The Toronto Hospital, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a disease which predominantly affects middle-aged women and is characterized by destruction of the interlobular bile ducts by chronic, often granulomatous, inflammation. This causes ductopenia and consequent cholestasis. Progressive fibrosis leads to cirrhosis and eventual liver failure. The frequent association of other autoimmune diseases and direct laboratory evidence of disturbed immune function suggest that PBC is an immune-mediated liver disease. Hence many clinical trials of therapy have employed immunosuppressive drugs. Another approach to therapy has been to reduce the degree of liver damage secondary to the cholestasis by altering the intra-hepatic bile acid milieu. These very different approaches to treatment of PBC are reviewed.

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