FROM ALIMENTARY PHARMACOLOGY & THERAPEUTICS

Brain abnormalities associated with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) can be observed via magnetic resonance imaging before significant liver damage occurs, according to V.B.P. Grover, MD, and associates at the Liver Unit and Robert Steiner MRI Unit, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College London.

In a study of 13 newly diagnosed precirrhotic PBC patients and 17 healthy volunteers, mean magnetization transfer ratios (MTR) were lower in the thalamus, putamen, and head of caudate in PBC patients, compared with the control group, with the greatest difference seen in the thalamus. Severity of PBC symptoms did not have any significant effect on MTR.

An increase in the apparent diffusion coefficient was seen in the thalamus of PBC patients; however, no significant difference in cerebral metabolite ratios or pallidal index was observed. No correlation between neuroimaging data, lab data, symptom severity scores, or age was observed.

“Larger scale, and in particular linear studies, will be needed to explore the relationship of this change to symptoms and its response to therapies such as UDCA [ursodeoxycholic acid] and OCA [obeticholic acid]. The presence of brain change so early in the disease process would, however, suggest that the current step-up approach to therapy in which treatment change follows failure of a therapy type may allow the progressive accumulation of brain injury whilst waiting for adequate therapeutic response,” the investigators concluded.

Find the full study in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics (doi: 10.1111/apt.13797 ).

lfranki@frontlinemedcom.com

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