Fibrosing cholangiopathy such as primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and biliary atresia (BA) is characterized by biliary epithelial injuries and concentric fibrous obliteration of the biliary tree together with inflammatory cell infiltration. In these diseases, inappropriate innate immunity is reported to contribute more to bile duct pathology as compared with various aspects of "classical" autoimmune diseases. Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is characterized by chronic cholangitis with bile duct loss and classical autoimmune features. Cellular senescence of cholangiocytes and a senescence-associated secretory phenotype lead to the production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines that may modify the milieu of the bile duct and then trigger fibroinflammatory responses in PSC and PBC. Furthermore, deregulated autophagy might be involved in cholangiocyte senescence and possibly in the autoimmune process in PBC, and the deregulated innate immunity against enteric microbes or their products that is associated with cholangiocyte senescence might result in the fibrosing cholangitis that develops in PBC and PSC. In BA, innate immunity against double-stranded RNA viruses might be involved in cholangiocyte apoptosis and also in the development of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition of cholangiocytes that results in fibrous obliteration of bile ducts. These recent advances in the understanding of immune-mediated biliary diseases represent a paradigm shift: the cholangiocyte is no longer viewed merely as a passive victim of injury; it is now also considered to function as a potential effector in bile duct pathology.
Nakanuma, Y., Sasaki, M., & Harada, K. (2015, April 1). Autophagy and senescence in fibrosing cholangiopathies. Journal of Hepatology. Elsevier B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2014.11.027