Comparative clinical characteristics and natural history of three variants of sclerosing cholangitis: IgG4-related SC, PSC/AIH and PSC alone

Min Lian, Bo Li, Xiao Xiao, Yue Yang, Pan Jiang, Li Yan, Chunyan Sun, Jun Zhang, Yiran Wei, Yanmei Li, Weihua Chen, Xiang Jiang, Qi Miao, Xiaoyu Chen, Dekai Qiu, Li Sheng, Jing Hua, Ruqi Tang, Qixia Wang, M. Eric GershwinXiong Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


There is increased interest and recognition of the clinical variants of Sclerosing Cholangitis (SC) namely IgG4-SC, PSC/AIH overlap and PSC. For most Centers, the characteristic of IgG4-SC has not been thoroughly clinically compared with other sclerosing cholangitis variants. Further there are relatively few PSC/AIH overlap patients and the clinical outcome is not well characterized, especially for the PSC/AIH overlap syndrome. Our objective herein is to clarify the differences and similarities of the natural history of IgG4-SC, the PSC/AIH overlap and PSC alone. We also place in perspective the diagnostic value of serum IgG4 for IgG4-SC and investigate biomarkers for predicting the prognosis of sclerosing cholangitis. In this study, we took advantage of our large and well-defined patient cohort to perform a retrospective cohort study including 57 IgG4-SC, 36 PSC/AIH overlap patients, and 55 PSC patients. Firstly, as expected, we noted significant differences among immunoglobulin profiles and all patients exhibited similar cholestatic profiles at presentation. Cirrhotic events were found in 20 of total 57 IgG4-SC, 15 of 36 PSC/AIH overlap, and 18 of 55 PSC patients. Serum IgG4 was elevated in 92.65% of IgG4-SC patients with an 86% sensitivity and 98% specificity for diagnosis. IgG4-SC patients had a better treatment response at 6-month and 1-year than PSC/AIH patients, while the latter responded better with steroids than PSC patients. Importantly the adverse outcome-free survival of IgG4-SC patients was reduced, unlike earlier reports, and therefore similar to the PSC/AIH overlap syndrome. Serum IgG and total bilirubin were useful to predict long-term survival of IgG4-SC and PSC/AIH, respectively. In conclusion, serum IgG4 ≧ 1.25 ULN shows an excellent predictability to distinguish IgG4-SC among SC patients. IgG4-SC appears to be immune-mediated inflammatory process, while PSC/AIH overlap more tends to be cholestatic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)875-882
Number of pages8
JournalAutoimmunity Reviews
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • IgG4
  • IgG4-SC
  • Prognosis
  • PSC/AIH overlap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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