Several factors point toward an auto-immune pathogenesis for primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), mostly based on the presence of serum auto-antibodies to mitochondrial antigens (AMAs) and autoreactive T cells (both helper and cytotoxic). Interestingly, epitopes recognized by AMA and T-cell clones are located within overlapping areas of the antigens. Moreover, a role for an imbalance in cytokine pattern and for natural-killer lymphocytes has also been proposed. Despite several experimental reports, no clear evidence is available regarding the interaction of these factors leading to bile duct destruction. This article reviews the current reports regarding the auto-immune reaction against mitochondrial auto-antigens in PBC.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy