Unique Inflammatory Bowel Disease Phenotype of Pediatric Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis: A Single-Center Study

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In adults, primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a cholestatic liver disease characterized by inflammation/fibrosis of intra/extrahepatic bile ducts, associates with a milder form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), particularly ulcerative colitis (UC). The pediatric PSC-IBD phenotype is less well characterized.


We performed a retrospective, single-center study examining patients with PSC-IBD at Texas Children's Hospital between 2000 and 2015. IBD-phenotype (Modified Montreal Classification), medications, laboratory values, endoscopic records, and IBD-based hospital admissions were collected. PSC-UC phenotype was compared to UC, non-PSC patients (n = 95) from Texas Children's Hospital. Elevated gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase levels were compared to calprotectin levels and IBD-flare activity, that is, gastrointestinal symptoms resulting in office/emergency department visits or hospital admission.


Of 39 patients with PSC-IBD, 34 (87.2%) had UC (PSC-UC) and 5 (12.8%) had Crohn disease. Pancolitis was more common in PSC-UC than UC, non-PSC (96.3%, 64%, P = 0.0009). Patients with PSC-UC required less treatment with steroids (76.5%, 91.6%, P = 0.0326) or infliximab (8.8%, 37.9%, P = 0.0011), and fewer had at least 1 IBD-related hospital admission (32.4%, 63.2%, P = 0.0025) than UC, non-PSC. Progression to colectomy was significantly less (5.8%, 24.2%, P = 0.0223) in PSC-UC. Median diagnosis-to-colectomy time tended to be longer in PSC-UC (6.37, 2.5 years, P = 0.0792). In 2 smaller subsets, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase did not correlate with calprotectin in PSC-UC (n = 11, P = 0.7922) and less strongly associated with IBD-flares in PSC-UC than UC, non-PSC (n = 33, n = 67; 15.2%, 41.8%, P = 0.0120).


Pediatric PSC appears to associate with milder pancolitic-UC. PSC and IBD activity do not appear to correlate. Our findings may provide useful information toward etiology and management of pediatric PSC-IBD.

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