Primary biliary cirrhosis is an autoimmune disease of unknown etiology, often associated with other autoimmune conditions.
Controlled studies have so far provided conflicting data on risk factors and comorbidity rates in primary biliary cirrhosis.
Dr Eric Gershwin and colleagues enrolled 1032 patients with primary biliary cirrhosis and 1041 random-digit-dialed controls.
The investigators enrolled the patients from 23 tertiary referral centers for liver diseases in the United States.
The patients matched for sex, age, race, and geographical location.
Patients and controls were administered a modified version of the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Study questionnaire.
The questionnaire was administered by trained personnel.
|Other autoimmune diseases were found in 32% of cases vs 13% of controls|
The investigators evaluated associations between primary biliary cirrhosis and social, demographic, personal and family medical histories.
The investigative team also assessed the associations with lifestyle, and reproductive factors and the rates of comorbidity in affected individuals.
The data indicated that having a first-degree relative with primary biliary cirrhosis, and history of urinary tract infections increased the risks of biliary cirrhosis.
The team noted that past smoking, or use of hormone replacement therapies were significantly associated with increased risk of primary biliary cirrhosis.
The frequent use of nail polish slightly increased the risk of having primary biliary cirrhosis.
In addition, the investigators found other autoimmune diseases n 32% of cases and 13% of controls.
Dr Gershwin's team commented, “Environmental factors, possibly including infectious agents through urinary tract infections or chemicals contained in cigarette smoke, may induce primary biliary cirrhosis in genetically susceptible individuals.”
“Exogenous estrogens may also contribute to explain the female predominance of the disease.”