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IgG4-Associated Cholangitis--A Mimic of PSC

Ulrich Beuers et al. Dig Dis.


IgG4-associated cholangitis (IAC) is an inflammatory disorder of the biliary tract representing a major manifestation of IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD) often with elevation of serum IgG4 levels, infiltration of IgG4+ plasma cells in the affected tissue and good response to immunosuppressive treatment. Its first description may go back to 150 years ago. The clinical presentation of IAC is often misleading, mimicking other biliary diseases such as primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) or cholangiocarcinoma. The HISORt criteria--histopathological, imaging, and serological features (sIgG4), other organ manifestations of IgG4-RD and response to treatment--are the standard for the diagnosis of IAC. In this overview of a recent lecture, we summarize our original findings on IgG4-RD that (i) dominant IgG4+ B-cell clones identified by advanced next generation sequencing (NGS) are highly specific for IgG4-RD (meanwhile confirmed by others), are a highly accurate diagnostic marker to distinguish IgG4-RD from PSC and biliary/pancreatic malignancies and may be crucial in unravelling the pathophysiology of IgG4-RD; (ii) sIgG4/sIgG1 >0.24 have additional diagnostic value in comparison to sIgG4 in differentiating IAC from PSC; (iii) blood IgG4 mRNA is a highly accurate diagnostic marker comparable to NGS and may become an easily available and affordable diagnostic standard for distinguishing IgG4-RD from PSC and biliary/pancreatic malignancies; and (iv) 'blue collar work' with long-term exposure to solvents, paints, oil products or industrial gases may be a risk factor for development of IgG4-RD. These findings may contribute to the understanding of the pathophysiology and to the early diagnosis and adequate treatment of IgG4-RD.

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