Published online Jun 28, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.3781
Revised: May 9, 2008
Accepted: May 16, 2008
Published online: June 28, 2008
The aetiology of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is not known and controversy exists as to whether PSC should be denominated an autoimmune disease. A large number of autoantibodies have been detected in PSC patients, but the specificity of these antibodies is generally low, and the frequencies vary largely between different studies. The presence of autoantibodies in PSC may be the result of a nonspecific dysregulation of the immune system, but the literature in PSC points to the possible presence of specific antibody targets in the biliary epithelium and in neutrophil granulocytes. The present review aims to give an overview of the studies of autoantibodies in PSC, with a particular emphasis on the prevalence, clinical relevance and possible pathogenetic importance of each individual marker.