The occurrence of cholestasis during pregnancy may be due to several disorders. These include pregnancyspecific diseases, like intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), as well as to other causes such as oligosymptomatic choledocolitiasis, viral hepatitis and other underlying liver disorders like primary biliary cirrhosis. In recent years, the discovery of mutations in hepatobiliary transporters genes responsible of some rare forms of genetic cholestasis have led to the study of this mutations in pregnant women with cholestasis. Thus, mutations in the hepatic phospholipid transporter (MDR3, ABCB4), in the aminophospholipid transporter ATP8B1 and in the bile salt export pump (BSEP, ABCB11) have been found in patients diagnosed as ICP. However, patients included in these studies belong to a heterogeneous population, which may not represent true cases of ICP since some reports include patients diagnosed in the first trimester of pregnancy, with elevated serum levels of gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase and clear evidence of chronic liver disease. Thus, consideration must be given to the possibility of other rare underlying hepatic disorders may be unmasked during pregnancy with cholestasis as its first manifestation.
Key words. Bile acids and bile salts, cholestasis, intrahepatic, estrogens, pregnancy complications, hepatic progesterone, ursodeoxycholic acid, high-risk pregnancy