Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 30–39

Bacteria and Primary Biliary Cirrhosis


DOI: 10.1007/s12016-008-8087-9

Cite this article as:
Bogdanos, D.P. & Vergani, D. Clinic Rev Allerg Immunol (2009) 36: 30. doi:10.1007/s12016-008-8087-9


Infectious agents have been postulated to play a pathogenic role in the loss of immunological tolerance and the induction of primary biliary cirrhosis, an immune-mediated cholestatic liver disease characterized by progressive destruction of the small intrahepatic bile ducts and subsequent cirrhosis and liver failure. This review discusses emerging issues implicating infectious agents such as Escherichia coli, mycobacteria, chlamydia, helicobacter species, lactobacilli, Novosphingobium aromaticivorans, and betaretroviruses in the pathogenesis of primary biliary cirrhosis. We also review the immunopathological mechanisms responsible for the induction of the disease with special emphasis on the role of molecular mimicry and microbial/self immunological cross-reactivity.


Autoimmunity Autoimmune disease Bile ducts Cholestasis Liver Immunity Tolerance 



primary biliary cirrhosis


antimitochondrial antibody


biliary epithelial cell

E. coli

Escherichia coli


oxo-acid dehydrogenase complex


pyruvate dehydrogenase complex

Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Liver Immunopathology, Institute of Liver Studies, King’s College London School of MedicineKing’s College HospitalLondonUK