Effects of ursodeoxycholic acid on hepatic inflammation and histological stage in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis

Kenneth P. Batts, Roberta A. Jorgensen, E. Rolland Dickson, Keith D. Lindor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Objectives: Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) has been reported to be of benefit in the treatment of primary biliary cirrhosis; however, the effects of UDCA on the histological features of primary biliary cirrhosis are uncertain. The goal of this study was to determine the histological effects of 2 yr of treatment with UDCA compared to placebo in a prospective randomized trial of primary biliary cirrhosis. We also sought to correlate the changes in inflammation and histological stage with changes in serum bilirubin, Mayo Risk Score, and the percentage of UDCA in bile in these patients. Methods: Sixty-one patients (32 receiving UDCA, 29 receiving placebo) who had initial and 2-yr biopsies were studied. Biopsy specimens were evaluated by a single pathologist under coded identification. The degree of inflammation and histological stage were graded on a scale of 0 to 4. Results: There was no significant difference in the degree of inflammation with UDCA treatment when compared to the placebo group at 2 yr. There was a significant but weak indirect association between degree of enrichment of UDCA and changes in inflammation (r = -0.34, p = .02). There was no detectable change in stage in either the UDCA-treated or placebo group when comparing pre- and posttreatment specimens. There were no associations with changes in serum bilirubin or Mayo Risk Score and degree of inflammation. Conclusions: No significant changes in the degree of inflammation or histological stage were apparent after 2 yr of treatment with UDCA or in the placebo group. A tendency toward improvement in inflammation was noted with greater degrees of biliary UDCA enrichment. Longer term studies will be necessary to determine whether UDCA has a beneficial effect on histological stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2314-2317
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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