Extrahepatic biliary atresia was observed in a 6-week-old female rhesus monkey. Jaundice and conjugated hyperbilirubinemia were detected at the age of 6 days and persisted throughout life. At 6 weeks of age, the diagnosis of extrahepatic biliary atresia was established at exploratory laparotomy, and bile duct remnants were biopsied. Histological examination of these specimens showed inflammatory and fibrosing lesions similar to those observed in humans with extrahepatic biliary atresia.
Because of serologic evidence of Reovirus 3 infection in human patients with extrahepatic biliary atresia, serum of the affected monkey was tested for antibodies to this virus. Three sequential serum samples obtained during the course of illness showed persistently high Reovirus 3 titers which are consistent with but do not prove concurrent Reovirus 3 infection.
This report represents the first documented case of spontaneous extrahepatic biliary atresia in a nonhuman primate and suggests that this species may be suitable for further investigation of the pathogenesis of this disease.