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Gut. 1999 Nov;45(5):780-2.

Clonal chromosomal abnormalities in congenital bile duct dilatation (Caroli's disease).

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Department of Clinical Genetics, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.



Caroli's disease is a rare congenital disorder characterised by cystic dilatation of the intrahepatic bile ducts and an increased risk of cholangiocellular carcinoma. The cause is unknown, but occasional familial clustering suggests that some cases are inherited, in particular when occurring in association with polycystic kidney disease and germline PKD1 gene mutations. To date, no gene responsible for familial isolated Caroli's disease has been identified, and no genetic investigations of liver tissue from patients with Caroli's disease have been reported.


A liver biopsy specimen from a patient with isolated Caroli's disease, without any signs of cholangiocellular carcinoma, was short term cultured and cytogenetically investigated after G banding with Wright's stain.


Cytogenetic analysis disclosed the karyotype 45-47,XX,der(3)t(3;8)(p23;q13), +2mar[cp6]/46,XX[18].


The finding of an unbalanced translocation between chromosomes 3 and 8 suggests that loss of distal 3p and/or gain of 8q is of pathogenetic importance in Caroli's disease. Alternatively, structural rearrangements of genes located in 3p23 and 8q13 may be of the essence. These chromosomal breakpoints may also pinpoint the location of genes involved in inherited forms of Caroli's disease not associated with polycystic kidney disease.

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