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Concept: Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis


Alagille syndrome (AS) is a multisystemic disease autosomal dominant, with variable expression. The major clinical manifestations are: chronic cholestasis, congenital heart disease, posterior embryotoxon in the eye, characteristic facial phenotype, and butterfy vertebrae. AS is caused by mutations in JAGGED1 (more than 90%) and in NOTCH2. Differential diagnosis include: infections, genetic-metabolic diseases, biliary atresia, idiopathic cholestasis. Cholestasis, pruritus and xanthomas have been successfully treated with choleretic agents (ursodeoxycholic acid) and other medications (cholestyramine, rifampin, naltrexone). In certain cases, partial external biliary diversion has also proved successful. Liver transplantation is indicated in children with cirrhosis and liver failure.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Medical terms, Liver, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, Alagille syndrome


As conceptions have changed regarding the suitability of oral contraceptives for women with a history of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), we studied whether the contraindications formerly in force had affected family planning decisions and mode of contraception among women with such a history.

Concepts: Birth control, Sexual intercourse, Family planning, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Abortion, Cholestasis, Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy


We performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the effects of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) on pruritus, liver test results, and outcomes of babies born to women with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP).

Concepts: Childbirth, Fetus, Obstetrics, Hepatology, Cholestasis, Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, Ursodiol


Objective The total bile acid (TBA) concentration criterion for diagnosing intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy varies in the published literature. The purpose of this study was to establish pregnancy-specific reference ranges for the TBA concentration among Latina women.Study Design Self-identified Latina women (n = 211) over 18 years of age with a singleton pregnancy were recruited and had random serum samples drawn during the second and third trimesters. The total and fractionated bile acid concentrations were analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), and reference ranges were calculated. Laboratory-provided general reference ranges from a general population of adult men and nonpregnant women were used for comparison.Results The TBA reference range for our Latina pregnant population (<8.5 µmol/L) was markedly lower than the laboratory-provided reference range (4.5 to 19.2 µmol/L).Conclusion These data suggest that the upper TBA concentration reference range in our Latina pregnant population is 8.5 µmol/L, based on LC-MS/MS measurements.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Obstetrics, Hepatology, Bile acid, Cholestasis, Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy


In infants intolerant of enteral feeding because of intestinal disease, parenteral nutrition may be associated with cholestasis, which can progress to end-stage liver disease. Here we show the function of hepatic macrophages and phytosterols in parenteral nutrition-associated cholestasis (PNAC) pathogenesis using a mouse model that recapitulates the human pathophysiology and combines intestinal injury with parenteral nutrition. We combine genetic, molecular, and pharmacological approaches to identify an essential function of hepatic macrophages and IL-1β in PNAC. Pharmacological antagonism of  IL-1 signaling or genetic deficiency in CCR2, caspase-1 and caspase-11, or IL-1 receptor (which binds both IL-1α and IL-1β) prevents PNAC in mice. IL-1β increases hepatocyte NF-κB signaling, which interferes with farnesoid X receptor and liver X receptor bonding to respective promoters of canalicular bile and sterol transporter genes (Abcc2, Abcb11, and Abcg5/8), resulting in transcriptional suppression and subsequent cholestasis. Thus, hepatic macrophages, IL-1β, or NF-κB may be targets for restoring bile and sterol transport to treat PNAC.

Concepts: Cholesterol, DNA, Gene, Liver, Bile, Small intestine, Hepatocyte, Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis


Alagille syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by cholestasis, ocular abnormalities, characteristic facial features, heart defects, and vertebral malformations. Most cases are associated with mutations in JAGGED1 (JAG1), which encodes a Notch ligand, although it is not clear how these contribute to disease development. We aimed to develop a mouse model of Alagille syndrome to elucidate these mechanisms.

Concepts: Genetic disorder, Mutation, Point mutation, Missense mutation, Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, Alagille syndrome, JAG1, NOTCH2


Despite the enormous replication potential of the human liver, there are currently no culture systems available that sustain hepatocyte replication and/or function in vitro. We have shown previously that single mouse Lgr5+ liver stem cells can be expanded as epithelial organoids in vitro and can be differentiated into functional hepatocytes in vitro and in vivo. We now describe conditions allowing long-term expansion of adult bile duct-derived bipotent progenitor cells from human liver. The expanded cells are highly stable at the chromosome and structural level, while single base changes occur at very low rates. The cells can readily be converted into functional hepatocytes in vitro and upon transplantation in vivo. Organoids from α1-antitrypsin deficiency and Alagille syndrome patients mirror the in vivo pathology. Clonal long-term expansion of primary adult liver stem cells opens up experimental avenues for disease modeling, toxicology studies, regenerative medicine, and gene therapy.

Concepts: Gene, Liver, Glycogen, Bile, Gallbladder, Hepatocyte, Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, Alagille syndrome


Bile salt export pump (BSEP) plays an important role in hepatic secretion of bile acids and its deficiency results in severe cholestasis and liver failure. Mutation of the ABCB11 gene encoding BSEP induces BSEP deficiency and progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 2 (PFIC2). Because liver transplantation remains standard treatment for PFIC2, the development of a novel therapeutic option is desired. However, a well reproducible model, which is essential for the new drug development for PFIC2, has not been established. Therefore, we attempted to establish a PFIC2 model by using iPSC technology. Human iPSCs were generated from patients with BSEP-deficiency (BD-iPSC), and were differentiated into hepatocyte-like cells (HLCs). In the BD-iPSC derived HLCs (BD-HLCs), BSEP was not expressed on the cell surface and the biliary excretion capacity was significantly impaired. We also identified a novel mutation in the 5'-untranslated region of the ABCB11 gene that led to aberrant RNA splicing in BD-HLCs. Furthermore, to evaluate the drug efficacy, BD-HLCs were treated with 4-phenylbutyrate (4PBA). The membrane BSEP expression level and the biliary excretion capacity in BD-HLCs were rescued by 4PBA treatment. In summary, we succeeded in establishing a PFIC2 model, which may be useful for its pathophysiological analysis and drug development.

Concepts: Cholesterol, DNA, Gene expression, Liver, Hepatology, Bile, Bile acid, Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis


Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a cholestatic disorder with potentially deleterious consequences for fetuses. Although a clear correlation between the elevated levels of maternal serum bile acids and deficient fetal outcome has been established in clinical practice, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Herein, we report that bile acids induce NF-κB pathway activation via G protein-coupled bile acid receptor 1 (Gpbar1), with consequent upregulation of inflammatory genes in trophoblasts, leading to aberrant leukocyte infiltration and inflammation in placenta. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), a drug used clinically to treat ICP, competes with other bile acids for binding with Gpbar1 and thus inhibits bile acid-induced inflammatory response in trophoblasts and improves fetal survival in pregnant rats with obstructive cholestasis. Notably, inhibition of NF-κB by andrographolide is more effective than UDCA in benefiting placentas and fetuses. Thus, anti-inflammation therapy targeting Gpbar1/NF-κB pathway could be effective in suppressing bile acid-induced inflammation and alleviating ICP-associated fetal disorders.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Fetus, Hepatology, Bile acid, Cholestasis, Placenta, Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy


Published case series have described central hepatic macroregenerative nodules or masses as a common feature of Alagille syndrome. Our experience suggests this regenerative pattern can be seen more generally in cholangiopathic disorders.

Concepts: Liver, Regeneration, Syndromes, Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, Alagille syndrome