Changes in plasma bile acid profiles after partial internal biliary diversion in PFIC2 patients

Ann Transl Med. 2020 Mar;8(5):185. doi: 10.21037/atm.2020.01.103.


Background: We ask if plasma bile acid profiles can be used to monitor the effectiveness of partial internal biliary diversion (PIBD) for treating uncontrolled cholestasis in progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 2 (PFIC2) patients.

Methods: Plasma bile acids were profiled in 3 cases of ATP-binding cassette, sub-family B member 11 (ABCB11)-mutated PFIC2 children before and after PIBD compared to healthy controls and 8 PFIC2 patients. The quantitation of bile acids was performed by reversed-phase ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography/multiple-reaction monitoring-mass spectrometry (UPLC/MRM-MS) with negative ion detection.

Results: Before PIBD, all three patients presented with >50-fold higher levels of total plasma bile acids, 2-7 folds higher ratios of taurine: glycine conjugated primary bile acids, and unchanged secondary bile acids levels compared to healthy controls. After PIBD, only one of the three patients (P3) showed relief of cholestasis. The bile acid profiles of the two nonresponding patients showed little change while that of the responding patient showed a 5-fold reduction in total plasma primary bile acids, a reduced taurine: glycine conjugate ratio, and an unexpected 26- and 12-fold increase in secondary bile acids DCA and LCA respectively. One year later, the responder suffered a recurrence of cholestasis, and the bile acid profile shifted back to a more pre-PIBD-like profile.

Conclusions: Plasma bile acid profiles may potentially be useful as sensitive biomarkers for monitoring the clinical course of PIBD patients. Relief of cholestasis after PIBD appears to be associated with significantly increased circulating toxic secondary bile acids and this may limit the utility of PIBD in PFIC2 patients in the long run.

Keywords: Biliary diversion; bile salt export pump (BSEP); jaundice; liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.