BSEP and MDR3 haplotype structure in healthy Caucasians, primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis



Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) are characterized by a cholestatic pattern of liver damage, also observed in hereditary or acquired dysfunction of the canalicular membrane transporters bile salt export pump (BSEP, ABCB11) and multidrug resistance protein type 3 (MDR3, ABCB4). Controversy exists whether a genetically determined dysfunction of BSEP and MDR3 plays a pathogenic role in PBC and PSC. Therefore, 149 healthy Caucasian control individuals (control group) were compared to 76 PBC and 46 PSC patients with respect to genetic variations in BSEP and MDR3. Sequencing spanned ∼10,000 bp including promoter and coding regions as well as 50–350 bp of flanking intronic regions. In all, 46 and 45 variants were identified in BSEP and MDR3, respectively. No differences between the groups were detected either in the total number of variants (BSEP: control group: 37, PBC: 37, PSC: 31; and MDR3: control group: 35; PBC: 32, PSC: 30), or in the allele frequency of the common variable sites. Furthermore, there were no significant differences in haplotype distribution and linkage disequilibrium. In conclusion, this study provides an analysis of BSEP and MDR3 variant segregation and haplotype structure in a Caucasian population. Although an impact of rare variants on BSEP and MDR3 function cannot be ruled out, our data do not support a strong role of BSEP and MDR3 genetic variations in the pathogenesis of PBC and PSC. (HEPATOLOGY 2004;39:779–791.)