Long-term clinical outcome of living-donor liver transplantation for primary biliary cirrhosis.

Aim: We described the recurrence of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) after living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) (Liver Transplantation, 7, 2001: 588). However, since the follow-up period in that study was insufficiently long (median 35.5 months), we performed a long-term study to further characterize recurrence of PBC after LDLT. Patients: From 1991 to 2006, 15 patients with end-stage PBC underwent LDLT at Tokyo Womenamp;apos;s Medical University. Of these patients, we studied 8 PBC patients (age 29 to 51 years, all females) who survived LDLT for more than 5 years. The follow-up period for these patients ranged form 68 to 120 months. Immunosuppression was maintained with tacrolimus and prednisone. Laboratory examinations performed in every patient and donor before LDLT included routine biochemical studies, antimitochondrial antibody (AMA) by immunofluorescence (IF), anti-M2 by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay as well as antinuclear antibody (ANA) by IF, and immunoglobulin. After LDLT, the same laboratory examinations were performed in patients every 6 months. Liver biopsy was performed when patients exhibited clinical or biochemical signs of graft dysfunction. In addition, protocol biopsy was performed every 1 to 2 years after LDLT. Results: At the time of LDLT, all patients had end-stage cholestatic liver failure. Seven patients were positive for AMAand anti-M2 while 1 patient was negative for these markers but strongly positive for ANA. Donors were blood relatives in 6 cases, and 2 donors who were not blood relatives still exhibited multiple HLA matches with the recipients. At the end of the study in May 2006, all patients were doing well. On laboratory examination, mild abnormal liver function test results were found in 4 patients: 3 were probably due to recurrence of PBC, 1 resulted from nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Comparison of the AMA titer between before LDLT and the most recent follow-up visit showed an increase in three patients, a decrease in two patients and no change in three patients. In contrast, the ANA titer increased in five patients. Histologically, strong evidence of recurrent PBC was found in 4 patients, and findings compatible with PBC were present in 2 additional patients. Conclusions: Although the number of our patients is small, our findings confirm that PBC can recur at high frequency after LDLT. However, this complication has not developed to advanced stages and has not caused appreciable symptoms in our patients, all of whom have a good quality of life.
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