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Disease Markers
Volume 29 (2010), Issue 6, Pages 323-328

Primary Biliary Cirrhosis: Environmental Risk Factors

Deepti Dronamraju, Joseph Odin, and Nancy Bach

Department of Liver Diseases, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY, USA

Received 24 January 2011; Accepted 24 January 2011

Copyright © 2010 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is an autoimmune disease of unclear etiology. It is a chronic, progressive condition that causes intrahepatic ductal destruction ultimately leading to symptoms of cholestasis, cirrhosis and liver failure. The disease predominantly affects middle aged Caucasian women. It has a predilection to certain regions and is found in higher incidences in North America and Northern Europe. It also has a genetic predisposition with a concordance rate of 60% among monozygotic twins. Combinations of genetic and environmental factors are proposed in the pathogenesis of this disease with a compelling body of evidence that suggests a role for both these factors. This review will elucidate data on the proposed environmental agents involved the disease's pathogenesis including xenobiotic and microbial exposure and present some of the supporting epidemiologic data.