Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the possible role of Fas and Fas ligand system in biliary atresia. Methods: Immunohistochemical stains of Fas and Fas ligand (FasL) and in situ hybridization of Fas ligand messenger RNA (mRNA) were performed on paraffin-embedded liver specimens of 36 biliary atresia, 6 choledochal cysts, and 14 non-tumorous parts of pediatric liver tumors. Apoptosis was detected by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase deoxy-UTP nick end labeling (TUNEL). The grade of liver fibrosis and results of bile drainage on the patients with biliary atresia were compared with the results of FasL expression. Results: Fas protein was positive on the hepatocytes and bile ductule epithelia of all the livers examined and also positive on some monocytes around the portal area in all the biliary atresia patients. FasL protein was positive on bile ductule epithelia in 10 biliary atresia patients and also positive on some monocytes in most of the biliary atresia patients. Positive signals of FasL mRNA were noted on hepatocytes in 4 biliary atresia, bile ductule epithelia in 19 biliary atresia patients, and some monocytes in most of the biliary atresia patients. Apoptotic nuclei were present among monocytes in all the biliary atresia livers but present among bile ductule epithelia only on the BA with positive FasL mRNA signals on ductule epithelium. The fibrosis grade was similar between biliary atresia with positive FasL mRNA signals and negative signals. The bile drainage was better in the biliary atresia without positive FasL mRNA signals. Conclusions: Fas ligand expression on bile ductule epithelia in biliary atresia may be induced to counterattack the infiltrating lymphocytes. Although the factors for post-Kasai bile drainage are multiple, the authors suggest Fas ligand expression on bile ductule epithelia may be a poor prognostic factor by playing a role in the continuous damage and obliteration of intrahepatic bile ducts after Kasai operation. Copyright (C) 2000 by W.B. Saunders Company.
- Biliary atresia
- Fas ligand
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health