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, 51 (4), 295-312

IgG4-related Sclerosing Cholangitis: All We Need to Know


IgG4-related Sclerosing Cholangitis: All We Need to Know

Yoh Zen et al. J Gastroenterol.


Our knowledge and experience of IgG4-related sclerosing cholangitis (ISC) have expanded in the last decade. ISC is one of the common organ manifestations of IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD); approximately 60 % of patients with this systemic condition have ISC in the proximal and/or distal bile ducts. ISC needs to be discriminated from primary sclerosing cholangitis, cholangiocarcinoma, and other rare forms of lymphoplasmacytic cholangiopathy (e.g., follicular cholangitis and sclerosing cholangitis with granulocytic epithelial lesions). Its diagnosis requires a multidisciplinary approach, in which serology, histology, and imaging play crucial roles. Treatments with high-dose corticosteroids typically lead to the rapid and consistent induction of disease remission. Another promising therapeutic approach is B-cell depletion with rituximab. Although disease relapse is relatively common, provided that appropriate treatments are administered, ISC is considered a "benign" disease with a low risk of liver failure and biliary malignancy. Its molecular pathology is characterized by Th2-dominant immune reactions, regulatory T-cell activation, and CCL1-CCR8 interactions. Particular subsets of B cells such as plasmablasts and regulatory B cells also expand. A recent global proteomic study demonstrated that three significantly activated immunological cascades in ISC were all B-cell- or immunoglobulin-related (Fc-gamma receptor-mediated phagocytosis, B-cell receptor signaling pathway, and Fc-epsilon receptor I signaling pathway), suggesting the crucial roles of B cells in the underlying immune reactions. Despite the expansion of our knowledge of the pathophysiology of ISC, the exact role of IgG4 remains unclear. A better understanding of its immunopathology will offer some potential drug targets for this emerging biliary disease.

Keywords: Autoimmune pancreatitis; B cells; IgG4-related disease; Rituximab; T cells.

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