Pediatric-Onset Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

Yaser Dahlan, Leslie Smith, Doug Simmonds, Larry Douglas Jewell, Ian Wanless, E. Jenny Heathcote, Vincent Gordon Bain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Unlike other autoimmune liver diseases, primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) has not been reported in childhood. We report 2 cases of PBC diagnosed at 16 and 15 years of age, respectively. The first girl was noted to have increased liver enzyme levels at 16 years of age. Antimitochondrial antibody (AMA) was strongly positive, and serum quantitative immunoglobulin M level was 8.26 g/L (normal, 0.6-3 g/L). A liver biopsy specimen showed stage II PBC. Despite treatment with ursodeoxycholic acid, she developed progressive cholestasis, intractable pruritus, and a significant sensory neuropathy and weight loss eventually requiring liver transplantation. Her mother had PBC/autoimmune overlap syndrome and underwent successful liver transplantation at 34 years of age. The second girl had persistently elevated liver enzyme levels following cholecystectomy at 15 years of age for symptomatic cholelithiasis. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography showed no abnormalities. AMA was positive at 1:160, and serum quantitative immunoglobulin was 6.96 g/L. A liver biopsy specimen showed stage II PBC, and her liver enzyme levels almost normalized after starting treatment with ursodeoxycholic acid. In conclusion, we present 2 liver biopsy-confirmed cases of pediatric-onset AMA-positive PBC. With increased awareness of early-onset PBC, further pediatric cases may be discovered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1476-1479
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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