Primary biliary cirrhosis is more severe in overweight patients

Mia Híndi, Cynthia Levy, Claudia A. Couto, Pablo Bejarano, Flavia Mendes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


GOALS: We sought to determine whether features of metabolic syndrome (MS) and histologic features of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are associated with increased fibrosis in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). BACKGROUNDS: PBC is a chronic, progressive cholestatic disease. MS is strongly associated with NASH and fibrosis progression in some liver diseases. STUDY: Patients with PBC seen consecutively at the University of Miami between 1985 and 2008 who had antimitochondrial antibody positivity and a liver biopsy performed at this center at the time of diagnosis were identified. Demographics, clinical features, and biochemical parameters were collected. All liver biopsies were reviewed by a single blinded pathologist for features of NASH, PBC, and fibrosis. The impact of NASH and features of MS on liver biopsy findings were analyzed. RESULTS: Forty-nine patients [median age 51 (34 to 78) years, 98% females] were enrolled. Higher degree of steatosis, severe inflammatory grade, and severe biliary duct damage were each associated with advanced fibrosis (P<0.0001). Regarding MS, only overweight status [body mass index (BMI) ≥25] was associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver activity score (NAS) ≥5 (P<0.0001), biliary duct damage (P<0.0001), and advanced fibrosis (71% vs. 32%, P=0.007). Patients with NAS≥5 had more severe fibrosis (14/15, 96% vs. 11/34, 44%; P=0.0001) and more severe biliary duct damage (13/15, 87% vs. 3/34, 9%; P=<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: NASH and BMI≥25 are associated with severe biliary duct damage and fibrosis in patients with PBC. BMI could become a useful noninvasive tool to predict advanced fibrosis in PBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e28-e32
JournalJournal of clinical gastroenterology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • metabolic syndrome
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • overweight
  • primary biliary cirrhosis
  • steatosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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