Children with biliary atresia, a rare, life-threatening disease that is the most common cause of neonatal liver failure, better tolerate liver transplants from their mothers than from their fathers, a UCSF-led study found. In the study, researchers reviewed all pediatric liver transplants nationwide from 1996 to 2010, and compared the outcomes for patients who received liver grafts from their mothers with those for patients who received livers from their fathers. Researchers believe the improved outcomes for children receiving a maternal liver graft may be due to higher levels of maternal cells in the patients' livers. The presence of these cells may establish tolerance to maternal antigens - substances that induce an immune response - and therefore greater acceptance of maternal organs in these biliary atresia patients. "This result is exciting because it supports the concept that trafficking of cells between the mother and the fetus has functional significance long after the pregnancy is over," said senior author Tippi MacKenzie, MD, assistant professor of pediatric surgery at UCSF and a fetal surgeon at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. "This is a topic we are actively studying both in animal models and in patients who have fetal surgery. Practically speaking, this study may allow us to counsel families in which both the mother and father are willing and able to be a donor." The researchers found that patients with biliary atresia who received a transplanted maternal portion of liver had a failure rate of 3.7 percent, compared to the failure rate of 10.5 percent observed in recipients of paternal livers. In children who had liver transplantation for other diseases, there were no differences in the transplant outcome between maternal or paternal grafts. The results will be published in the January issue of the American Journal of Transplantation and can be found online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-6143.2011.03895.x/full Biliary atresia, which affects one in 10,000 newborn infants, occurs when the common bile duct between the liver and the small intestine is blocked or absent. While early surgical intervention to treat biliary atresia is critical to prevent irreversible liver damage, once the liver fails, a liver transplant is required. "We were testing the idea that if cells from the mother travel into the fetus during pregnancy and are involved in maternal-fetal tolerance, this phenomenon may have a long-lasting effect for transplantation tolerance when the mother donates an organ to the child," MacKenzie said. Source: Eurekalert << Humour in a Simple Mathematical Formula Waste of 134 M Pounds a Year by Permanently Charging Gadgets >> Recommended Reading Quiz on Liver How many of us know that the liver is a vital organ the size of an American Football? To understand more about the liver and its functions spend a few minutes taking part in this ... READ MORE Current Treatments for Liver Cancer Current Treatments for Liver Cancer (also known as hepatoma or hepatocellular carcinoma) can result in complete cure of the disease if it is detected early. READ MORE Fatty Liver Disease: A Growing Health Problem in India Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of liver dysfunction worldwide and is a rapidly growing health problem in India. READ MORE Hepatitis A Hepatitis A is the most benign of the hepatitis viruses and usually has no long term side effects. Hepatitis A vaccine is available that is 95% effective in preventing the disease. READ MORE Living Donor Liver Transplant: What Are the Risks? The risk of dying as a result of a living donor liver segment removal is between 0.2-2.0%. The risk of morbidity is anywhere between 1.3% (in highly experienced centers) to 60%. READ MORE Milk Thistle Milk Thistle is a resourceful natural plant which has many medicinal benefits. In herbal medication milk thistle is used in cases of liver diseases. READ MORE Sclerosing Cholangitis Sclerosing cholangitis is a liver disease characterized by inflammation and scarring of bile ducts within and outside the liver resulting in their constriction. READ MORE The Magic Feeling of Being A Mother Selecting the doctor who will help you in your pregnancy is a very personal decision. READ MORE Wilson's Disease This is a rare inherited systemic disorder of copper metabolism, affecting the liver mainly before other organs. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Post-Nasal Drip Calculate Ideal Weight for Infants Iron Intake Calculator More News on: Hepatitis AHeight and Weight-KidsLiverWilson's DiseaseThe Magic Feeling of Being A MotherSclerosing CholangitisMilk ThistleCurrent Treatments for Liver CancerFatty Liver Disease: A Growing Health Problem in IndiaLiving Donor Liver Transplant: What Are the Risks?