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      Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis: A Descriptive Study in a Tertiary Care Center


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          Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC) is a rare genetic disorder that results from defective mechanisms of bile secretion. We aim to describe different types of PFIC and their clinical features, treatment modalities, and outcomes in Saudi Arabia. Patients and Methods. This is a retrospective study of all patients diagnosed with PFIC at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh from January 1, 2002, to December 31, 2021. All relevant information was collected from patient charts and transferred into the REDcap® database for statistical analysis.


          A total of 79 patients were identified with PFIC, and PFIC type 3 was the most common (59.5%), followed by PFIC type 2 (34.2%), PFIC type 1 (5.1%), and PFIC type 4 (1.3%). Males and females were affected in 54.4% and 45.6%, respectively. Mutations in ATP8B1, ABCB11, and ABCB4 genes were observed in PFIC type 1, PFIC type 2, and PFIC type 3, and loss of function in a variant of TJP2 was detected in PFIC type 4, respectively. A total of 51 (64.6%) patients underwent liver transplantation: three patients (3/4) with PFIC type 1 (75%), twenty patients (20/27) with PFIC type 2 (74.1%), twenty-seven patients (27/47) with PFIC type 3 (57.4%), and one patient with PFIC type 4 (100%). The mean duration of disease before transplantation was 53.9 ± 67 months with a median of 30 months. Following liver transplantation, symptomatic control was achieved in 47 patients (92.2%). Recurrence after transplantation occurred in 4 patients (7.8%) within an average of 22.5 months and a median of 17 months.


          PFIC is considered a rare disorder in Saudi Arabia; however, early recognition of the disease is important for appropriate management and early referral for liver transplantation evaluation. The overall rate of liver transplantation in our cohort was 64.6% with an excellent five-year survival rate.

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          Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis.

          Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC) is a group of rare disorders which are caused by defect in bile secretion and present with intrahepatic cholestasis, usually in infancy and childhood. These are autosomal recessive in inheritance. The estimated incidence is about 1 per 50,000 to 1 per 100,000 births, although exact prevalence is not known. These diseases affect both the genders equally and have been reported from all geographical areas. Based on clinical presentation, laboratory findings, liver histology and genetic defect, these are broadly divided into three types-PFIC type 1, PFIC type 2 and PFIC type 3. The defect is in ATP8B1 gene encoding the FIC1 protein, ABCB 11 gene encoding BSEP protein and ABCB4 gene encoding MDR3 protein in PFIC1, 2 and 3 respectively. The basic defect is impaired bile salt secretion in PFIC1/2 whereas in PFIC3, it is reduced biliary phospholipid secretion. The main clinical presentation is in the form of cholestatic jaundice and pruritus. Serum gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) is normal in patients with PFIC1/2 while it is raised in patients with PFIC3. Treatment includes nutritional support (adequate calories, supplementation of fat soluble vitamins and medium chain triglycerides) and use of medications to relieve pruritus as initial therapy followed by biliary diversion procedures in selected patients. Ultimately liver transplantation is needed in most patients as they develop progressive liver fibrosis, cirrhosis and end stage liver disease. Due to the high risk of developing liver tumors in PFIC2 patients, monitoring is recommended from infancy. Mutation targeted pharmacotherapy, gene therapy and hepatocyte transplantation are being explored as future therapeutic options.
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            Systematic review of progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis

            Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC) is a heterogeneous group of rare genetic disorders associated with bile acid secretion or transport defects. This is the first systematic review of the epidemiology, natural history and burden of PFIC.
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              Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC) type 1, 2, and 3: a review of the liver pathology findings.

              Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestatic diseases encompass a group of autosomal recessive hereditary diseases, which usually present in infancy or childhood, with cholestasis of hepatocellular origin. The currently preferred nomenclature for the three PFIC disorders that have been characterized to date is FIC1 deficiency, BSEP deficiency, and MDR3 deficiency, relating to mutations in the specific genes involved in bile acid formation and transport. Since the first description of these diseases, extensive clinical, biochemical, and molecular studies have increased our understanding of the features specific to each one of them. This review focuses mainly on the liver histology, summarizing their characteristic pathologic features, the correlation to specific genotypes, and complications arising with disease progression. © Thieme Medical Publishers.

                Author and article information

                Int J Hepatol
                Int J Hepatol
                International Journal of Hepatology
                20 July 2023
                : 2023
                : 1960152
                1Department of Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
                2College of Medicine, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
                3Liver Transplant Centre, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
                4Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Dirk Uhlmann

                Author information
                Copyright © 2023 Fahad I. Alsohaibani et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 19 January 2023
                : 27 June 2023
                : 4 July 2023
                Research Article

                Gastroenterology & Hepatology
                Gastroenterology & Hepatology


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