Genetic and morphological findings in progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (Byler disease [PFIC-1] and Byler syndrome): evidence for heterogeneity

Hepatology. 1997 Jul;26(1):155-64. doi: 10.1002/hep.510260121.


Byler disease (ByD) is an autosomal recessive disorder in which cholestasis of onset in infancy leads to hepatic fibrosis and death. Children who have a clinically similar disorder, but are not members of the Amish kindred in which ByD was described, are said to have Byler syndrome (ByS). Controversy exists as to whether ByD and ByS (subtypes of progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis [PFIC]) represent one clinicopathological entity. The gene for ByD has been mapped to a 19-cM region of 18q21-q22. PFIC caused by a lesion in this region, including ByD, can be designated PFIC-1. Examination of haplotypes in siblings with ByS in two unrelated non-Amish families showed that the gene(s) responsible for their disorder(s) did not lie in the PFIC-1 candidate region. On light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), liver tissue differed between Amish children with PFIC-1, who had coarsely granular bile and at presentation had bland intracanalicular cholestasis, and the children with ByS in the two non-Amish families, who had amorphous or finely filamentous bile and at presentation had neonatal hepatitis. Bile acid composition of bile also differed: In the Amish children with PFIC-1 and in one ByS family, the proportional concentration of chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) in bile was low compared with normal bile; in the other ByS family, it was only slightly reduced. Genetic analysis and light microscopy and TEM of liver may help distinguish PFIC-1 from other forms of ByS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bile / chemistry
  • Biopsy
  • Cholestasis, Intrahepatic / genetics*
  • Cholestasis, Intrahepatic / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Liver / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Pedigree