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BACKGROUND & AIMS: Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and IgG4-related sclerosing cholangitis (IgG4-SC) are chronic fibro-inflammatory immune-mediated hepatobiliary conditions that are challenging to distinguish in a clinical setting. Accurate non-invasive biomarkers for discriminating PSC and IgG4-SC are important to ensure a correct diagnosis, prompt therapy and adequate cancer surveillance. METHODS: We performed nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabolomic profiling using serum samples collected prospectively from patients with PSC (n=100), IgG4-SC (n=23) and healthy controls (HC; n=16). RESULTS: Multivariate analysis of the serum metabolome discriminated PSC from IgG4-SC with greater accuracy (AUC 0.95 [95%CI 0.90-0.98]) than IgG4 titre (AUC 0.87 [95%CI 0.79-0.94]). When inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was excluded as a comorbid condition (IgG4-SC n=20, PSC n=22), the diagnostic AUC increased to 1.0, suggesting that the metabolome differences identified are not a result of the increased prevalence of IBD in PSC relative to IgG4-SC patients. Serum lactate (p<0.0001), glucose (p<0.01), and glutamine (p<0.01) metabolites were increased in IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD) and IgG4-SC individuals compared to PSC, whereas mobile choline (p<0.05), 3-hydroxybutyric acid (p<0.01), and -CH3 lipoprotein resonances (p<0.01) were decreased. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, serum metabolomic profiling has the potential to be incorporated as a diagnostic criterion, independent of IgG4 titre, to improve the diagnosis of IgG4-RD and help distinguish IgG4-SC from PSC.

Original publication




Journal article


Liver Int

Publication Date



Immunoglobulin G4-Related Disease, biomarkers, cholangitis, sclerosing, diagnosis, metabolomics