The cause of biliary atresia is unknown; in the past few decades, the majority of investigations related to its pathogenesis have centered on viral infections and immunity. The acquired or perinatal form of biliary atresia entails a progressive inflammatory injury of bile ducts, leading to fibrosis and obliteration of both the extrahepatic and intrahepatic bile ducts. Theories of pathogenesis include viral infection, chronic inflammatory or autoimmune-mediated bile duct injury, and abnormalities in bile duct development. This review will focus solely on human studies pertaining to a potential viral trigger of bile duct injury at diagnosis and provide insight into the interplay of the innate and adaptive immune responses in the pathogenesis of disease.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.