Biliary beta 2-microglobulin in liver allograft rejection

D H Adams, D Burnett, R A Stockley, S G Hubscher, P McMaster, E Elias

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19 Citations (Scopus)


beta 2-Microglobulin, which is associated with HLA class 1 antigens, was assayed in bile and serum from 19 patients following 22 liver transplants. Serum levels were elevated in all posttransplant patients irrespective of the presence of rejection. In contrast, biliary levels were significantly higher during episodes of acute rejection compared with posttransplant cholangitis (p less than 0.01), stable graft function (p less than 0.0001) and nontransplant samples (p less than 0.0001). When bile/serum ratios were studied, the difference between the rejection and the other groups was even more significant, and if a ratio of 0.2 was considered diagnostic of rejection, the test had a sensitivity of 96%, a specificity of 87% with an accuracy of 90%. Therefore, these results suggest that the measurement of bile/serum ratios of beta 2-microglobulin following liver transplantation may be useful in diagnosing acute rejection. When bile/serum ratios of beta 2-microglobulin were compared with those for other proteins, there was strong evidence to suggest that local release accounted for most of the increased biliary beta 2-microglobulin during rejection. These results provide further evidence that HLA class 1 antigens on the biliary epithelium may be important in liver allograft rejection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1565-70
Number of pages6
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1989


  • Albumins
  • Bile
  • Graft Rejection
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • beta 2-Microglobulin


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