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Am J Gastroenterol. 1996 Mar;91(3):516-22.

Eosinophilia in primary biliary cirrhosis.

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First Department of Internal Medicine, Iwate Medical University School of Medicine, Morioka, Japan.



Recent studies have shown the occurrence of eosinophilia in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). To examine whether eosinophilia is indeed a distinctive feature of PBC, we performed extensive leukocyte differential analysis using a highly sophisticated hematology instrument. We also investigated the relationship between eosinophil dynamics and clinical features of PBC including the effects of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) treatment.


A flow cytometry-based blood cell analyzer (Technicon H6000) was used to examine peripheral blood eosinophil counts in 38 patients with PBC and 131 patients with various liver deseases. We also performed eosinophil quantitation in 19 PBC patients before and after administration of UDCA for 4 wk.


Patients with PBC had significantly higher relative and absolute eosinophil counts when compared with other liver diseases (5.7 +/- 0.5% [p < 0.0001, mean +/- SEM] and 312 +/- 26 cells/microliter [p < 0.01], respectively). Twenty-one of 38 PBC patients (55%) exhibited relative eosinophilia. In patients with PBC, the eosinophil count was: 1) significantly higher in those with early histological stages (stage I-II, 6.5 +/- 0.5% vs stage III-IV, 4.4 +/- 0.7%,p < 0.05), 2) positively correlated with basophil count (p < 0.01), serum IgA levels (p < 0.05), and the degree of eosinophil infiltration in the portal tract (p < 0.01), and 3) markedly reduced by UDCA treatment (before: 5.9 +/- 0.7%, 307 +/- 37 cells/microliter; after: 2.8 +/- 0.03% [p < 0.001], 162 +/- 26 cells/microliter ¿p < 0.001]).


Eosinophilia is a common and distinctive feature of patients with PBC. UDCA ameliorates eosinophilia as well as liver function tests in PBC patients. Eosinophilia may be useful as one of the initial clues in the diagnosis of PBC, especially in its early stage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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