Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 40-51

First online:

Atypical p-ANCA in PSC and AIH: A Hint Toward a “leaky gut”?

  • Birgit TerjungAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, University of Bonn
  • , Ulrich SpenglerAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, University of Bonn Email author 

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Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) are enigmatic chronic inflammatory diseases of the liver, which are frequently associated with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. Both types of liver disease share various distinct autoantibodies such as atypical perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (p-ANCA), and thus are considered autoimmune disorders with atypical features. The discovery that atypical p-ANCA recognize both tubulin beta isoform 5 in human neutrophils and the bacterial cell division protein FtsZ has renewed the discussion on the potential role of microorganisms in the pathogenesis of both diseases. In this paper, we review the evidence for microbial infection in PSC and AIH and discuss new concepts how cross-recognition between microbial antigens in the gut and host components by the immune system along with stimulation of pattern recognition receptors might give rise to chronic hepatic inflammatory disorders with features of autoimmunity.


Autoimmunity Antibodies Autoimmune disease Infection Primary sclerosing cholangitis Autoimmune hepatitis Toll-like receptor Regulatory T cells