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J Mol Med (Berl). 1996 May;74(5):269-72.

Ursodeoxycholic acid treatment lowers the serum level of antibodies against pyruvate dehydrogenase and influences their inhibitory capacity for the enzyme complex in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis.

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Department of Immunology, University of Tartu, Estonia.


A two-year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial used paired serum samples from 122 patients with primary biliary cirrhosis to compare the effect of ursodeoxycholic acid and colchicine on their immune parameters. IgG antibodies to pyruvate dehydrogenase, the major autoantigen in primary biliary cirrhosis, were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunoblot; enzyme inhibition assay against pyruvate dehydrogenase was used to test the changes of the functional reactivity of the serum autoantibodies. Treatment with ursodeoxycholic acid decreased both the level of IgG antibodies to pyruvate dehydrogenase (P < 0.01) and the inihibitory titer of the sera for pyruvate dehydrogenase (P < 0.01). Treatment with colchicine or placebo showed no statistically significant changes in either the antibody levels or the inhibitory titers. Ursodeoxycholic acid thus alters the immune parameters of patients with primary biliary cirrhosis. The mechanism of these changes needs further investigation.

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