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J Hepatol. 2000 Nov;33(5):690-5.

Detection of male DNA in the liver of female patients with primary biliary cirrhosis.

Author information

1
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

Primary biliary cirrhosis is a chronic cholestatic liver disease characterized by progressive inflammatory destruction of bile ducts, with eventual hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis. Since primary biliary cirrhosis affects predominantly middle-aged women and has pathological similarities to hepatic graft-versus-host-disease, we investigated whether fetal cell microchimerism might be involved in the development of this disease.

METHODS:

The presence of Y-chromosome-specific sequences was analyzed by polymerase chain reaction using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from women with primary biliary cirrhosis (n=18) and healthy (control) women (n=18), and by in situ hybridization of liver biopsy sections from women with primary biliary cirrhosis (n=19) and women with chronic hepatitis C or alcoholic liver disease (n=20).

RESULTS:

Male cells were detected in liver biopsy specimens of 8 of 19 patients (42%) with primary biliary cirrhosis. Y-chromosome-containing cells were not seen in any of the liver biopsy specimens from women with chronic hepatitis C or alcoholic liver disease. Male cells were detected in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from one healthy control at a level of 1 male cell per 10(6) female cells, but were not detected in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of women with primary biliary cirrhosis.

CONCLUSIONS:

The presence of male cells in the liver of women with primary biliary cirrhosis raises the possibility that fetal cell microchimerism may be involved in the pathogenesis of this chronic liver disease.

PMID:
11097474
DOI:
10.1016/s0168-8278(00)80297-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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