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Medicina (B Aires). 2002;62(3):241-4.

Familial association in autoimmune liver disease.

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  • 1División de Gastroenterología, Hospital de Clínicas José de San Martín, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The occurrence of autoimmune liver disease in members of the same family is hardly a frequent observation in clinical practice. In a group of 204 cases of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) (196 women) and 219 of type 1 autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) (183 women), seen from 1985 to 2000, family occurrence of autoimmune liver disease was investigated. Diagnosis of both entities was based on clinical criteria, immunological studies and liver biopsy. Six families were identified with 2 members each presenting with autoimmune liver disease. In 4 of them the index case had an AIH. This association was observed between mother and daughter in 3 instances. In the remaining AIH index case the association found was with a PBC in her sister. In the other two families the index cases were PBC. In one of them, PBC and AIH association were observed in sisters. Lastly, in another case, an antimitochondrial (AMA) negative variant of PBC was detected in mother and her daughter. The low frequency of family association observed in this cohort could be due to the fact that only symptomatic cases were included. Concurrent autoimmune manifestations were confirmed in 5 members of 6 families (42%). Our results, given the concurrence of both liver diseases in the same family, suggest a link among diverse entities of the autoimmune lineage. The frequency of AIH family association seems to be more prominent in this series than that of PBC. It is also shown that family association in the case of an AMA-negative variant of PBC is feasible, thus confirming that no substantial differences exist between the latter and AMA-positive PBC.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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