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Many liver diseases may be associated with cholestasis, and in some of them cholestasis is the leading symptom. This book, the proceedings of Falk Symposium No. 102 (Part I of the Liver Week Freiburg 1997), gives an update on the anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of bile formation and secretion. Significant progress has been achieved in recent years due to the application of molecular biology which led to the identification of the specific transporters involved in bile formation and secretion. Furthermore, medical treatment in cholestatic liver diseases has made progress recently, due to the introduction of ursodeoxycholic acid and other medical procedures. Finally, cholestatic liver diseases are major indications for liver transplantation. Primary biliary cirrhosis has been the first disease where liver transplantation was shown to increase survival and improve quality of life. A completely separate, but also heterogeneous group are patients with paediatric cholestatic liver diseases. Some of them are also treated with liver transplantation, while in others genetic defects are being identified.
The purpose of the symposium was to bring together well-known scientists and clinicians from around the world to discuss the recent progress on the physiology and pathophysiology of bile formation and secretion. Furthermore, the molecular basis of, and the therapeutic developments in cholestatic liver diseases and its progress were discussed. This volume deals with most, if not all, modern aspects of cholestatic liver diseases, with contributions on pathology, biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology, hepatology, immunology, paediatrics, and last but not least surgery.