AMA screening PBC
Antibodies to AMA (mitochondria al.) screening including titer determination.
The diagnosis of Primary Bilial Cholangitis (PBC) can be made based on, among other things, blood tests for antibodies.
This blood test looks for the presence of a certain type of antibody, the antibodies against mitochondria (AMA). Mitochondria are parts of body cells. These antibodies are present in about 95% of patients with PBC.
It is wise to also check liver values for a proper diagnosis.
PBC is a so-called autoimmune disease. Every person has an immune system that protects his body from external influences. The immune system makes antibodies against foreign invaders in the body. These antibodies can be used to render bacteria and viruses harmless.
In Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC), the small bile ducts in the liver are chronically inflamed. These inflammations cause the bile ducts to become increasingly obstructed. As a result, the bile fluid cannot be drained off properly. This is called a bile obstruction. This accumulation of bile fluid (congestion) in the liver leads to inflammation and damage to the liver cells. Eventually, the liver cells become irreparably damaged and scar tissue is formed. This process is irreversible and is called liver cirrhosis.
In an autoimmune disease, the immune system is actually overactive. The immune system makes antibodies not only against foreign invaders, but also against certain healthy cells of the own body. In PBC, antibodies are produced against the tissue of the bile ducts in the liver. This causes these bile ducts to become inflamed. It is unclear how this immune reaction against the body arises. Possibly an infection with a virus or bacteria can be a stimulus that activates the immune system.
Several autoimmune diseases sometimes occur together. In addition to cells of the liver, antibodies are also made against, for example, cells of the thyroid gland, the joints or the colon. PBC frequently occurs together with:
- Sjögren's syndrome, a condition characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth. As a result of an autoimmune reaction, chronic inflammation of the tear and salivary glands occurs.
- scleroderma, a skin condition, in which hardening of the skin occurs.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (rheumatism), a chronic inflammation of the joints.