Infection and molecular mimicry have been implicated in the etiology and pathogenesis of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC).
In this study, investigators from the United States assessed the prevalence of Chlamydial antigens and RNA in the liver tissue of patients with PBC.
The team compared 25 explanted livers with PBC with 105 explanted livers with other chronic liver disease.
|Only 9% of patients with other chronic liver diseases were positive for C. pneumoniae.|
|Journal of Hepatology|
They also examined 14 liver biopsies from patients with early stages of PBC, as well as donor livers.
The investigators determined that Chlamydia pneumoniae antigens were present in all 39 patients with PBC. Chlamydia trachomatis was not present.
The team established that only 9% of patients with other chronic liver diseases were positive for C. pneumoniae.
In addition, the 8 explanted PBC livers tested for C. pneumoniae 16S RNA by in situ hybridization were positive.
Dr Ahmad Abdulkarim and colleagues concluded, "The presence of C. pneumoniae antigen and RNA in liver tissue of patients with PBC suggests that C. pneumoniae antigen may trigger an immune response based on molecular mimicry".