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Autoimmun Rev. 2005 Mar;4(3):137-43.

The immunobiology of primary sclerosing cholangitis.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, University of California at Davis, 4150 V Street, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.


An understanding of the immunobiology of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is essential to improving both diagnosis and treatment. There have been significant gains in the discovery of genetic polymorphisms that generate susceptibility to disease, but only limited data on etiologic events that may initiate the inflammatory response. Colonic inflammation produces memory T cells that have the ability to bind both biliary and colonic endothelial cells. One possible mechanism for the development of PSC is the homing of these memory T cells to the biliary tree. In addition, TNF(alpha) may contribute to the oxidative damage of the biliary system. Finally, although speculative, mononuclear cell responses against biliary epithelial cells may create a persistent inflammatory response, eventually leading to fibrosis.

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