Interesting new article on gut bacteria link to PBC and PSC, suggests antibiotics as possible new treatment

There seems to be very little progress on identifying causes of PBC or potential effective new treatments (I was diagnosed in 1998 and at that time, I think I really beleived there would have to be some progress by now....). Hence, was very interested to see this medical journal article, published 9 November, which seems to suggest that certain gut bacteria could be implicated in causing inflammation / scarring of the cells that line the bile ducts, and goes so far as to suggest that the potential of antibiotic therapy should be explored. Does anyone know if any work is being done to progress this? This article - Impact of Microbes on the Pathogenesis of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC) and Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) - is an open source article so it can be reproduced freely by everyone and can be found at:

Here are some brief quotes from the article: "There exists compelling evidence that microbial agents and/or changes in the intestinal/biliary microbiota are involved in the pathogenesis of PBC and PSC. Thus, the application of antibiotics might be a novel and alternative therapeutic option for the treatment of these devastating diseases."

" As pathogenic bacteria might use the biliary tree as route for an ascending infection, and as ursodeoxycholic acid (UCDA, one of the secondary bile acids) is the only FDA-approved drug currently available for the treatment of PBC, its mechanism of action might include anti-microbial effects, as recently shown for Clostridium difficile infections [130] and/or the correction of alterations within the composition of the intestinal and/or biliary microbiota [131,132]. In order to address these pending questions, clinical studies must be initiated, and the therapeutic regimen carefully considered in order to identify therapeutic targets and approaches that can be used to guide the development of effective therapies for PBC and PSC...."

6 Replies

  • This looks very interesting.Let's hope it gets followed up.

  • I agree, it does look very interesting - especially considering the news on Parkinson's this week.

  • Oh gosh that's very interesting isn't it, thanks for posting, wouldn't it be amazing if they can stop progression of Parkinsons. I saw that the researcher they quoted is at Newcastle Uni, I wonder if the people at the Freeman could get any research going re the PBC/gut bacteria concept up there? I used to read all the PBC research years ago but haven't lately as there just didn't seem to be a lot going on offering any hope - so am very out of touch. Does anyone know if the author of this article is tied in to any of the few centres with an active research interest in PBC and if not, does the PBC Foundation have any comments on supporting this line of research and getting some clinical studies going please? Wouldn't it be amazing if we could all benefit from the right antibiotics being identified? It would be like helicobacter pylori and stomach ulcers - but I believe it took the guy who identified that cause of ulcers absolutely years before anyone would listen to him.

  • Interesting articles thank you for posting.

  • thank you for sharing, both articles are interesting and hopefully something good can come from a fresh way of looking at these diseases.

  • Really interesting, think in past there's been occasional suggestion of some of those with PBC ( and PSC?) having had or have IBS, so a link with gut microbes figure .( I fall in to this category along with Hep B vac)

    Look forwards to reading more on this.