Gonzales E, Grosse B, Schuller B, Davit-Spraul A, Conti F, Guettier C, Cassio D, Jacquemin E. Targeted pharmacotherapy in progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 2: Evidence for improvement of cholestasis with 4-phenylbutyrate. Hepatology. 2015 Aug; 62(2):558-66.

Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 2 (PFIC2) is a result of mutations in ABCB11 encoding bile salt export pump (BSEP), the canalicular bile salt export pump of hepatocyte. In some PFIC2 patients with missense mutations, BSEP is not detected at the canaliculus owing to mistrafficking of BSEP mutants. In vitro, chaperone drugs, such as 4-phenylbutyrate (4-PB), have been shown to partially correct mistrafficking. Four PFIC2 patients harboring at least one missense mutation (p.G982R, p.R1128C, and p.T1210P) were treated orally with 4-PB and followed prospectively. Patient mutations were reproduced in a Bsep/green fluorescent protein plasmid. Cellular localization of the resulting Bsep mutants was studied in a hepatocellular line (Can 10), and effects of treatment with 4-PB and/or ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) were assessed. In Can 10 cells, Bsep mutants were detected in the endoplasmic reticulum instead of at the canalicular membrane. Treatment with 4-PB and UDCA partially corrected Bsep mutant targeting. With 4-PB, we observed, in all patients, a decrease of pruritus and serum bile acid concentration (BAC) as well as an improvement of serum liver tests. Pathological liver injuries improved, and BSEP, which was not detected at the canalicular membrane before treatment, appeared at the canalicular membrane. Bile analyses showed an increase in BAC with 4-PB. Patient conditions remained stable with a median follow-up of 40 months (range, 3-53), and treatment tolerance was good.

4-PB therapy may be efficient in selected patients with PFIC2 owing to ABCB11 missense mutations affecting BSEP canalicular targeting. Bile secretion improvement may be a result of the ability of 4-PB to retarget mutated BSEP.

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