Autoimmune BSEP disease: disease recurrence after liver transplantation for progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis.

Research paper by Ralf R Kubitz, Carola C Dröge, Stefanie S Kluge, Claudia C Stross, Nathalie N Walter, Verena V Keitel, Dieter D Häussinger, Jan J Stindt

Indexed on: 25 Oct '14Published on: 25 Oct '14Published in: Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology


Severe cholestasis may result in end-stage liver disease with the need of liver transplantation (LTX). In children, about 10 % of LTX are necessary because of cholestatic liver diseases. Apart from bile duct atresia, three types of progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC) are common causes of severe cholestasis in children. The three subtypes of PFIC are defined by the involved genes: PFIC-1, PFIC-2, and PFIC-3 are due to mutations of P-type ATPase ATP8B1 (familial intrahepatic cholestasis 1, FIC1), the ATP binding cassette transporter ABCB11 (bile salt export pump, BSEP), or ABCB4 (multidrug resistance protein 3, MDR3), respectively. All transporters are localized in the canalicular membrane of hepatocytes and together mediate bile salt and phospholipid transport. In some patients with PFIC-2 disease, recurrence has been observed after LTX, which mimics a PFIC phenotype. It could be shown by several groups that inhibitory anti-BSEP antibodies emerge, which most likely cause disease recurrence. The prevalence of severe BSEP mutations (e.g., splice site and premature stop codon mutations) is very high in this group of patients. These mutations often result in the complete absence of BSEP, which likely accounts for an insufficient auto-tolerance against BSEP. Although many aspects of this "new" disease are not fully elucidated, the possibility of anti-BSEP antibody formation has implications for the pre- and posttransplant management of PFIC-2 patients. This review will summarize the current knowledge including diagnosis, pathomechanisms, and management of "autoimmune BSEP disease."