Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is a chronic disease that affects the bile ducts within the liver. The bile ducts carry a fluid called bile from the liver to the gallbladder, where it is stored. The bile ducts become inflamed and damaged, which causes bile to build up in the liver. This abnormal buildup destroys liver tissue and in later stages results in cirrhosis.
Primary biliary cirrhosis usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 60 and affects women more often than men. The cause of this condition is unknown, but research suggests that it is an autoimmune disease.