Purpose: This study aimed to clarify the role of complement activation in fibrogenesis in BA.
Methods: In total, 27 paraffin-embedded liver biopsy samples were immunohistochemically analyzed using C4d polyclonal antibody, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), and CD45. The liver samples were obtained from 25 patients during Kasai operation, and two additional specimens were obtained from 2 patients by needle biopsy later at the time of liver function deterioration. The degree of liver fibrosis was histologically graded 1-3.
Results: Among the 25 samples, 9 showed C4d-positive immunostaining localized on the endothelia of a few portal veins in the portal tract. The degree of fibrosis was correlated with C4d staining (p = 0.025). The age at Kasai operation correlated with the degree of fibrosis and the C4d positivity. Two needle biopsy samples were positive for C4d. Among 13 samples submitted for VCAM-1 staining, 2 negative samples were C4d negative and all positive C4d samples were VCAM-1 positive with CD45 mononuclear cell infiltration.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that ongoing cirrhosis could be a result of progressive "vasculopathy" of the portal vein caused by humoral and cell-mediated immune interaction.