Primary Biliary Cholangitis Alters Functional Connections of the Brain's Deep Gray Matter.
ABSTRACT: Fatigue, itch, depressed mood, and cognitive impairment significantly impact the quality of life of many patients with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC). Previous neuroimaging studies of non-hepatic diseases suggest that these symptoms are often associated with dysfunction of deep gray matter brain regions. We used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) to determine whether PBC patients exhibit altered functional connections of deep gray matter.Twenty female non-cirrhotic PBC patients and 21 age/gender-matched controls underwent rsfMRI. Resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) of deep gray matter brain structures (putamen, thalamus, amygdala, hippocampus) was compared between groups. Fatigue, itch, mood, cognitive performance, and clinical response to ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) were assessed, and their association with rsFC was determined.Relative to controls, PBC patients exhibited significantly increased rsFC between the putamen, thalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus, as well as with frontal and parietal regions. Reduced rsFC of the putamen and hippocampus with motor and sensory regions of the brain were also observed. Fatigue, itch, complete response to UDCA, and verbal working memory performance were also associated with altered rsFC of deep gray matter. These rsFC changes were independent of biochemical disease severity.PBC patients have objective evidence of altered rsFC of the brain's deep gray matter that is in part linked to fatigue severity, itch, response to UDCA therapy, and cognitive performance. These results may guide future approaches to define how PBC leads to altered brain connectivity and provide insight into novel targets for treating PBC-associated brain dysfunction and behavioral symptoms.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Fatigue is a frequent and debilitating symptom in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). AIMS: To study fatigue in relation to sleep, depression, and liver disease severity. METHODS: Patients with PBC completed validated self report questionnaires measuring fatigue, sleep quality, depression, and functional capacity. Verbally reported fatigue and observer rated measure of depression and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) use were recorded. Liver biochemistry and tests to rule out metabolic causes of fatigue were performed. RESULTS: Mean age of the 88 patients enrolled was 57 years; 86% were female and mean duration of disease was 6.6 years. Median bilirubin was 13 micromol/l (mean 18.6). Verbally reported fatigue (for more than six months) was present in 60 patients (68%). The self rated Fatigue Severity Score (FSS) correlated well with verbally reported fatigue (p=0.0001). The FSS did not correlate with age, duration of disease, serum bilirubin, Mayo Risk Score, or UDCA use, but correlation was seen with sleep quality. Fatigued patients had more sleep problems and higher depression scores than non-fatigued patients. Self rated depression was present in 28% (17/60) of fatigued compared with 4% (1/28) of non-fatigued patients. CONCLUSIONS: Long term fatigue affected 68% of the patients with PBC but it was not related to the severity of their liver disease. Poor sleep quality and depression were commonly associated with fatigue.
Project description:Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is a rare autoimmune cholestatic liver disease that may progress to fibrosis or cirrhosis. Treatment options are currently limited. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) remains first-line therapy and has been proven to normalize serum biochemistries, halt histologic disease progression, and lead to patient survival comparable to the general population. Obeticholic acid (OCA) was recently approved as adjunct therapy in PBC patients with inadequate response or intolerance to UDCA. However, OCA has been associated with worsening pruritus in clinical studies which may limit its use in this patient population. Several studies are currently underway to address the lack of treatment options for PBC. Of these, fibrates, which have been used in Japan for over a decade, have produced promising results. Furthermore, as currently approved therapies for PBC do not address the potentially debilitating clinical symptoms of PBC such as pruritus and fatigue, supplemental therapy is often required for symptom control.
Project description:Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is typically associated with elevated serum bile acid levels and pruritus, but pruritus is often refractory to treatment with existing therapies. This phase 2 study assessed the efficacy and safety of maralixibat, a selective, ileal, apical, sodium-dependent, bile acid transporter inhibitor, in adults with PBC and pruritus. Adults with PBC and pruritus who had received ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) for ?6 months or were intolerant to UDCA were randomized 2:1 to maralixibat (10 or 20 mg/day) or placebo for 13 weeks in combination with UDCA (when tolerated). The primary outcome was change in Adult Itch Reported Outcome (ItchRO™) average weekly sum score (0, no itching; 70, maximum itching) from baseline to week 13/early termination (ET). The study enrolled 66 patients (maralixibat [both doses combined], n = 42; placebo, n = 24). Mean ItchRO™ weekly sum scores decreased from baseline to week 13/ET with maralixibat (-26.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], -31.8, -21.2) and placebo (-23.4; 95% CI, -30.3, -16.4). The difference between groups was not significant (P = 0.48). In the maralixibat and placebo groups, adverse events (AEs) were reported in 97.6% and 70.8% of patients, respectively. Gastrointestinal disorders were the most frequently reported AEs (maralixibat, 78.6%; placebo, 50.0%). Conclusion: Reductions in pruritus did not differ significantly between maralixibat and placebo. However, a large placebo effect may have confounded assessment of pruritus. Lessons learned from this rigorously designed and executed trial are indispensable for understanding how to approach trials assessing pruritus as the primary endpoint and the therapeutic window of bile acid uptake inhibition as a therapeutic strategy in PBC.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:Liver transplantation improves survival in end-stage primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), but the benefit for systemic symptoms including fatigue is less clear. The aim of this study was to utilise the comprehensive UK-PBC Research Cohort, including 380 post-transplant patients and 2300 non-transplanted patients, to answer key questions regarding transplantation for PBC. METHODS:Cross-sectional study of post-transplant PBC patients and case-matched non-transplanted patients. Detailed clinical information was collected, together with patient systemic symptom impact data using validated assessment tools. RESULTS:Over 25% of patients in the transplant cohort were grafted within 2 years of PBC diagnosis suggesting advanced disease at presentation. Transplanted patients were significantly younger at presentation than non-transplanted (mean 7 years) and >35% of all patients in the UK-PBC cohort who presented under 50 years had already undergone liver transplantation at the study censor point (>50% were treatment failures (post-transplant or unresponsive to UDCA)). Systemic symptom severity (fatigue and cognitive symptoms) was identical in female post-transplant patients and matched non-transplanted controls and unrelated to disease recurrence or immunosuppression type. In males, symptoms were worse in transplanted than in non-transplanted patients. CONCLUSIONS:Age at presentation is a major risk factor for progression to transplant (as well as UDCA non-response) in PBC. Although both confirmatory longitudinal studies, and studies utilising objective as well as subjective measures of function, are needed if we are to address the question definitively, we found no evidence of improved systemic symptoms after liver transplantation in PBC and patients should be advised accordingly. Consideration needs to be given to enhancing rehabilitation approaches to improve function and life quality after liver transplant for PBC.
Project description:Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is an immune-mediated chronic cholestatic liver disease with a slowly progressive course. Without treatment, most patients eventually develop fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver and may need liver transplantation in the late stage of disease. PBC primarily affects women (female preponderance 9-10:1) with a prevalence of up to 1 in 1,000 women over 40 years of age. Common symptoms of the disease are fatigue and pruritus, but most patients are asymptomatic at first presentation. The diagnosis is based on sustained elevation of serum markers of cholestasis, i.e., alkaline phosphatase and gamma-glutamyl transferase, and the presence of serum antimitochondrial antibodies directed against the E2 subunit of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. Histologically, PBC is characterized by florid bile duct lesions with damage to biliary epithelial cells, an often dense portal inflammatory infiltrate and progressive loss of small intrahepatic bile ducts. Although the insight into pathogenetic aspects of PBC has grown enormously during the recent decade and numerous genetic, environmental, and infectious factors have been disclosed which may contribute to the development of PBC, the precise pathogenesis remains enigmatic. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is currently the only FDA-approved medical treatment for PBC. When administered at adequate doses of 13-15 mg/kg/day, up to two out of three patients with PBC may have a normal life expectancy without additional therapeutic measures. The mode of action of UDCA is still under discussion, but stimulation of impaired hepatocellular and cholangiocellular secretion, detoxification of bile, and antiapoptotic effects may represent key mechanisms. One out of three patients does not adequately respond to UDCA therapy and may need additional medical therapy and/or liver transplantation. This review summarizes current knowledge on the clinical, diagnostic, pathogenetic, and therapeutic aspects of PBC.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Polymorphisms of vitamin D receptor (VDR) contribute to the pathogenesis of multiple autoimmune conditions. METHODS:We investigated the incidence of VDR polymorphisms (rs1544410-BsmI; rs7975232-ApaI; rs731236-TaqI) in a group of patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC, n = 275) and in healthy controls (n = 376). Additionally, correlations of the VDR polymorphisms with clinical and biochemical factors of the disease were analysed. RESULTS:The genotype and allele distributions of these polymorphisms in PSC patients were similar to those observed in controls. However, the ApaI polymorphism was associated with an impaired health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The generic SF-36 questionnaire showed that the Role-Physical (p = 0.01), Role-Emotional (p = 0.01), Physical Component Summary (p = 0.01) and Mental Component Summary (p = 0.003) scores were significantly affected. Similarly, the disease-specific questionnaires, PBC-40 and PBC-27, demonstrated that carriers of the C allele suffered from more severe Itch (p = 0.03 assessed by PBC-40 and PBC-27), more Fatigue (p = 0.02 assessed by PBC-40 and PBC-27) and Impaired Cognitive Capacity (p = 0.04 and p = 0.03). Correspondingly, individuals who were AA homozygotes (non-carriers of the C allele of ApaI) had higher summary scores for the Physical (p = 0.01) and Mental Components (p = 0.006) measured with SF-36. Moreover, they experienced less itch (p = 0.03) and less Fatigue (p = 0.03) and had better Cognitive Abilities (p = 0.04) as assessed by the PBC-40 and PBC-27 questionnaires. No associations between other VDR polymorphisms and clinical or laboratory findings were made. CONCLUSION:In summary, this study is the first to show that the ApaI polymorphisms in VDR may exert an effect on disease-related symptoms and quality of life in patients with PSC.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Health care costs are growing faster than the rest of the global economy, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Countries' health expenditures include paying for general medicine, diagnostic procedures, hospitalizations and surgeries, as well as medications and prescribed treatment. Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is a rare autoimmune liver disease and the first line available treatment is ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), however, direct and indirect treatment costs are expensive. Main aim of this trial was to assess if the therapeutic efficacy of UDCA manufactured by the university hospital is equivalent to that of standard UDCA and treatment cost reduction in patients with PBC. METHODS:It is a prospective, interventional, randomized, and crossover study in patients diagnosed with PBC. UDCA 300?mg tablets and capsules were developed and manufactured by the university hospital. Thirty patients under treatment with standard UDCA, in stable doses were randomized in sequence A and B, 15 patients in each arm. The groups were treated for 12?weeks and after, the UDCA formulation was changed, following for another 12?weeks of continuous therapy (tablets and capsules / capsules and tablets). Laboratory tests were performed at time T0 (beginning of treatment), T1 (at the 12?week-therapy, before the crossing-over) and T2 (end of treatment). The evaluation was done by comparing the hepatic parameters ALP, GGT, ALT, AST and total bilirubin, also considering the adverse events. The comparison of costs was based on price of the manufactured UDCA and standard UDCA price of the hospital. RESULTS:Hospital reduced 66.1% the PBC treatment costs using manufactured UDCA. There were no differences in the biochemical parameters between sequence (A and B) and tablets or capsules of UDCA formulations applied in the treatment of PBC. CONCLUSIONS:The study showed that there was no significant difference between manufactured UDCA (capsule and tablet) and standard UDCA. Hospital reduced the PBC treatment costs using the manufactured UDCA by the university hospital. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03489889 retrospectively registered on January 12th, 2018; Ethics Committee approved the study (ID: 1.790.088) on October 25th, 2016.
Project description:Aim:Patients with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) have at least 60% probability of having an autoimmune extrahepatic condition, with the most common being Sjögren's syndrome (SS). The impacts of SS on the response and outcomes in ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA)-treated patients with PBC, however, remain unclear. The aim of this study was to document the biochemical responses and clinical outcomes of UDCA-treated patients with concomitant SS and to compare the findings to those of patients with PBC alone. Methods:Data from consecutive patients with PBC who visited West China Hospital affiliated with Sichuan University between October 2013 and October 2017 were reviewed retrospectively. Results:The study populations consisted of 226 patients with PBC alone and 56 with PBC/SS. The median ages, proportions of female patients, Fib-4 scores, and aspartate aminotransferase (AST)/platelet ratio index (APRI) at baseline in the two cohorts were similar. At presentation, patients with PBC/SS had higher serum IgG levels and positive rates for serum antinuclear antibody (ANA) than patients with PBC alone (all P < 0.05). There was no statistically significant difference between the rate of biochemical response to UDCA at 1 year in the PBC/SS and PBC alone groups. The UK-PBC risk scores and GLOBE scores in UDCA-treated patients in the two cohorts were also similar. During the follow-up period, the differences in the liver enzyme levels, Fib-4 scores, APRI, and incidence of liver-related adverse events were not significant. Conclusions:The results of this retrospective, single-center study suggest that the response and clinical outcomes of UDCA-treated patients with PBC are not adversely affected by concomitant SS.
Project description:Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a cholestatic disease associated with autoimmune phenomena and alterations in both biliary bicarbonate excretion and expression of the bicarbonate carrier AE2. The bile acid ursodeoxycholic acid (UCDA) is currently used in treatment of cholestatic liver diseases and is the treatment of choice in PBC; however, a subset of PBC patients respond poorly to UDCA monotherapy. In these patients, a combination of UDCA and glucocorticoid therapy appears to be beneficial. To address the mechanism of this benefit, we analyzed the effects of UDCA and dexamethasone on AE2 gene expression in human liver cells from hepatocyte and cholangiocyte lineages. The combination of UDCA and dexamethasone, but not UDCA or dexamethasone alone, increased the expression of liver-enriched alternative mRNA isoforms AE2b1 and AE2b2 and enhanced AE2 activity. Similar effects were obtained after replacing UDCA with UDCA conjugates. In in vitro and in vivo reporter assays, we found that a UDCA/dexamethasone combination upregulated human AE2 alternate overlapping promoter sequences from which AE2b1 and AE2b2 are expressed. In chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, we demonstrated that combination UCDA/dexamethasone treatment induced p300-related interactions between HNF1 and glucocorticoid receptor on the AE2 alternate promoter. Our data provide a potential molecular explanation for the beneficial effects of the combination of UDCA and glucocorticoids in PBC patients with inadequate response to UDCA monotherapy.
Project description:Huntington disease (HD) is a fatal progressive neurodegenerative disorder for which only symptomatic treatment is available. A better understanding of the pathology, and identification of biomarkers will facilitate the development of disease-modifying treatments. HD is potentially a good model of a neurodegenerative disease for development of biomarkers because it is an autosomal-dominant disease with complete penetrance, caused by a single gene mutation, in which the neurodegenerative process can be assessed many years before onset of signs and symptoms of manifest disease. Previous MRI studies have detected abnormalities in gray and white matter starting in premanifest stages. However, the understanding of how these abnormalities are related, both in time and space, is still incomplete. In this study, we combined deep gray matter shape diffeomorphometry and white matter DTI analysis in order to provide a better mapping of pathology in the deep gray matter and subcortical white matter in premanifest HD. We used 296 MRI scans from the PREDICT-HD database. Atrophy in the deep gray matter, thalamus, hippocampus, and nucleus accumbens was analyzed by surface based morphometry, and while white matter abnormalities were analyzed in (i) regions of interest surrounding these structures, using (ii) tractography-based analysis, and using (iii) whole brain atlas-based analysis. We detected atrophy in the deep gray matter, particularly in putamen, from early premanifest stages. The atrophy was greater both in extent and effect size in cases with longer exposure to the effects of the CAG expansion mutation (as assessed by greater CAP-scores), and preceded detectible abnormalities in the white matter. Near the predicted onset of manifest HD, the MD increase was widespread, with highest indices in the deep and posterior white matter. This type of in-vivo macroscopic mapping of HD brain abnormalities can potentially indicate when and where therapeutics could be targeted to delay the onset or slow the disease progression.