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Autoimmun Rev. 2002 Feb;1(1-2):37-42.

Antimitochondrial antibodies in primary biliary cirrhosis: the role of xenobiotics.

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Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology, University of California at Davis School of Medicine, TB 192, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Primary biliary cirrhosis is an enigmatic autoimmune disease of women characterized by antimitochondrial antibodies and destruction of intrahepatic bile ducts. The etiology of PBC is unknown, but we present data herein that the disease may be induced by xenobiotic (i.e. chemicals) exposure. In particular, we postulate that halogenated compounds will bind to the autoantigen, break tolerance, and lead to an intense mucosal response.

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