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Disease Profile

Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis 1

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.

1-9 / 100 000

US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset






Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

PFIC1; Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis; Cholestasis, fatal intrahepatic;


Congenital and Genetic Diseases; Digestive Diseases; Metabolic disorders


The following summary is from Orphanet, a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.

Orpha Number: 79306

PFIC1, a type of progressive familial intrahepathic cholestasis (PFIC, see this term), is an infantile hereditary disorder in bile formation that is hepatocellular in origin and associated with extrahepatic features.

Estimated prevalence at birth of PFIC types 1-3 varies between 1/50,000 and 1/100,000 births. PFIC1 is the less frequent type of PFIC.

Clinical description
Its onset occurs mostly during infancy. Clinical signs of cholestasis (discolored stools, dark urine) usually appear in the first months of life with recurrent or permanent jaundice associated with hepatomegaly and severe pruritus. Patients usually develop fibrosis and end-stage liver disease before adulthood. Extrahepatic features have been reported including persistent short stature, watery diarrhea, pancreatitis and sensorineural deafness.

PFIC1 is due to mutations in the ATP8B1 gene (18q21-22) encoding the FIC1 protein expressed at the canalicular membrane of hepatocytes as well as in other epithelia. In hepatocytes, abnormal protein might indirectly disrupt biliary bile acid secretion, explaining the low biliary bile acid concentration found in PFIC1 patients. Extrahepatic features of the disease are probably related to the extrahepatic expression of FIC1.

Diagnostic methods
PFIC1 should be suspected in children with a clinical history of cholestasis of unknown origin after exclusion of the other main causes of cholestasis presenting with normal serum gamma-GT activity and high serum bile acid concentration. Usually, serum alpha-fetoprotein level is normal and alanine aminotransferase values are below five times the upper limit of normal. Liver ultrasonography is usually normal but may reveal a huge gallbladder. Liver histology reveals canalicular cholestasis and the absence of true ductular proliferation with only periportal biliary metaplasia of hepatocytes. When performed, cholangiography shows a normal biliary tree and allows bile collection. Biliary lipid analysis reveals mildly decreased biliary bile salt concentration. Genotyping confirms the diagnosis.

Differential diagnosis
In the scope of cholestasis with normal gamma-GT, differential diagnosis includes mainly primary bile acid synthesis defects and PFIC2 (see these terms).

Antenatal diagnosis
Prenatal diagnosis can be proposed if a mutation has been identified in each parent.

Genetic counseling
Transmission is autosomal recessive.

Management and treatment
Ursodeoxycholic acid therapy (UDCA) should be initiated in all patients to prevent liver damage but is not fully effective. Rifampicin is helpful to control pruritus. Nasobiliary drainage may help to select potential responders to biliary diversion. However, because of severe cholestasis, half of patients are ultimately candidates for liver transplantation (LT). Diarrhea often worsens after LT and might be favorably managed by bile adsorptive resin treatment. LT does not prevent extrahepatic progression of the disease, and does not lead to catch-up growth. Furthermore, severe steatohepatitis of the liver graft has been reported. Specialized follow-up is mandatory lifelong. FIC1 defect predisposes to development of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (see this term).

Visit the Orphanet disease page for more resources.


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
Learn More:
Percent of people who have these symptoms is not available through HPO
Autosomal recessive inheritance
Scar tissue replaces healthy tissue in the liver
Conjugated hyperbilirubinemia
Watery stool
Failure to thrive
Faltering weight
Weight faltering

[ more ]

Fat malabsorption
Enlarged liver
Infantile onset
Onset in first year of life
Onset in infancy

[ more ]

Intrahepatic cholestasis with episodic jaundice
Yellow skin
Yellowing of the skin

[ more ]

Itchy skin
Skin itching

[ more ]

Severe short stature
Proportionate dwarfism
Short stature, severe

[ more ]

Increased spleen size


Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

Learn more

These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

In-Depth Information

  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis 1. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.