Systemic and Local Cytokine Profile in Biliary Atresia

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Abstract

Purpose

Systemic and local immune environments in human biliary atresia (BA) were analyzed.

Methods

Plasma concentrations of 19 inflammatory components in 16 preoperative BA patients (median age, 51 days), 13 normal controls (NCs) (44 days), and 15 cholestatic controls (CC) (23 days) were measured using flow cytometry, and compared according to post-Kasai outcomes in BA patients. Hepatic mRNA levels of representative helper T (Th) cell cytokines and forkhead box protein 3 (FoxP3) quantified by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction were compared between BA and non-BA.

Results

No significant differences were observed between BA and control in serum Th1, Th2, or macrophage markers, while soluble cellular adhesion molecule (CAM) levels were significantly higher in BA (p < 0.0001 for NC; p = 0.0003 for CC). No statistically significant difference was discovered between BA with favorable and unfavorable prognosis. Hepatic mRNA levels of interferon-gamma or interleukin-4 showed no significant differences between BA and non-BA, while FoxP3 was significantly higher in BA (p = 0.01).

Conclusions

A skewed bias toward specific Th-oriented immunity was not demonstrated in either the systemic or local environment in the early stage of human BA, with patient prognoses not necessarily revealed by preoperative plasma inflammatory component levels. CAM and regulatory T cell roles and functions warrant further investigation.

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