INTRODUCTION: Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic cholestatic liver disease characterized by inflammatory injury and bile duct destruction. Recent studies suggest that Chlamydia pneumoniae could be associated with the development of PBC. The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of C. pneumoniae in a cohort of patients with PBC. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The presence of IgG antibodies against C. pneumoniae was investigated in 46 patients with PBC and in 105 subjects without cirrhosis. RESULTS: Twenty-one patients (46%) with PBC had antibodies against C. pneumoniae compared with 74 subjects (71%) in the control group (OR = 0.6; 95% CI, 0.3-1.2; p = NS). Subanalysis of the PBC group showed that patients with C. pneumoniae antibodies had a higher frequency of advanced Child-Pugh stages (24% A, 52% B and 24% C vs 64% A, 32% B and 4% C; p = 0.01), a higher score on the Mayo Clinic Prognostic Index (7.8 ± 2.1 vs 5.6 ± 1.2; p = 0.004), a higher frequency of ascites (29% vs 4%; OR = 9.6; 95% CI, 1-87; p = 0.02), higher total bilirubin levels (4.5 ± 2.5 mg/dl vs 2.4 ± 4.3 mg/dl, p = 0.001) and lower serum albumin levels (2.6 ± 0.9 g/dl vs 3.3 ± 0.6 g/dl, p = 0.02). CONCLUSION: No association was found between C. pneumoniae infection and PBC in this study. An association was found between the severity of PBC and C. pneumoniae, which may suggest a deleterious effect of C. pneumoniae infection or a predisposition in advanced stages of PBC to acquire infection with this microorganism.
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