Anti-integrin αvβ6 autoantibodies in patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis

J Gastroenterol. 2023 Aug;58(8):778-789. doi: 10.1007/s00535-023-02006-6. Epub 2023 Jun 13.


Background: Patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) possess autoantibodies against biliary epithelial cells. However, the target molecules remain unknown.

Methods: The sera of patients with PSC and controls were subjected to enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays to detect autoantibodies using recombinant integrin proteins. Integrin αvβ6 expression in the bile duct tissues was examined using immunofluorescence. The blocking activity of the autoantibodies was examined using solid-phase binding assays.

Results: Anti-integrin αvβ6 antibodies were detected in 49/55 (89.1%) patients with PSC and 5/150 (3.3%) controls (P < 0.001), with a sensitivity and specificity of 89.1% and 96.7%, respectively, for PSC diagnosis. When focusing on the presence or absence of IBD, the proportion of the positive antibodies in PSC with IBD was 97.2% (35/36) and that in PSC alone was 73.7% (14/19) (P = 0.008). Integrin αvβ6 was expressed in bile duct epithelial cells. Immunoglobulin (Ig)G from 15/33 patients with PSC blocked integrin αvβ6-fibronectin binding through an RGD (Arg-Gly-Asp) tripeptide motif.

Conclusions: Autoantibodies against integrin αvβ6 were detected in most patients with PSC; anti-integrin αvβ6 antibody may serve as a potential diagnostic biomarker for PSC.

Keywords: Autoimmunity; Biomarker; Epithelial cell adhesion molecule; Fibronectin; Inflammatory bowel diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases*


  • Autoantibodies