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Disease at a Glance

Summary
Alagille syndrome is a genetic syndrome that can affect the liver and other parts of the body. The liver problems result from having fewer small bile ducts than normal in the liver. This leads to bile building-up inside the liver, which in turn causes liver scarring and damage. Signs and symptoms of Alagille syndrome are generally noticed in infancy or early childhood. Type of symptoms and severity varies greatly, even among people in the same family, so that in some cases the symptoms are severe, and in others, very mild. The liver problems may be the first symptoms of the syndrome, and may include yellow color of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice); itchy skin; bumps on the skin caused by deposits of cholesterol and fats (xanthomas); pale, loose bowel movements; and poor growth. Alagille syndrome can also affect other parts of the body including the heart, brain, kidneys, blood vessels, eyes, face, and skeleton. People with Alagille syndrome may have distinctive facial features too, including a broad, prominent forehead, deep-set eyes, and a small, pointed chin. Alagille syndrome is caused by changess in the JAG1 and NOTCH2 genes. Inheritance is autosomal dominant. However, in about half of cases the genetic change occurs as a new change ("de novo") without being inherited from either parents.
Summary
Alagille syndrome is a genetic syndrome that can affect the liver and other parts of the body. The liver problems result from having fewer small bile ducts than normal in the liver. This leads to bile building-up inside the liver, which in turn causes liver scarring and damage. Signs and symptoms of Alagille syndrome are generally noticed in infancy or early childhood. Type of symptoms and severity varies greatly, even among people in the same family, so that in some cases the symptoms are severe, and in others, very mild. The liver problems may be the first symptoms of the syndrome, and may include yellow color of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice); itchy skin; bumps on the skin caused by deposits of cholesterol and fats (xanthomas); pale, loose bowel movements; and poor growth. Alagille syndrome can also affect other parts of the body including the heart, brain, kidneys, blood vessels, eyes, face, and skeleton. People with Alagille syndrome may have distinctive facial features too, including a broad, prominent forehead, deep-set eyes, and a small, pointed chin. Alagille syndrome is caused by changess in the JAG1 and NOTCH2 genes. Inheritance is autosomal dominant. However, in about half of cases the genetic change occurs as a new change ("de novo") without being inherited from either parents.
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Resource(s) for Medical Professionals and Scientists on This Disease:

About Alagille syndrome

Many rare diseases have limited information. Currently GARD aims to provide the following information for this disease:

  • Population Estimate:Fewer than 50,000 people in the U.S. have thisdisease.
  • Symptoms:May start to appear at any time in life.
  • Cause:This disease is caused by a change in the genetic material (DNA).
  • Organizations:Patient organizations are available to help find a specialist, or advocacy and support for this specific disease.
  • Categories:Birth DefectsGenetic DiseasesKidney DiseasesGastrointestinal Diseases
When Do Symptoms of Alagille syndrome Begin?
Symptoms of this disease may start to appear at any time in life.

The age symptoms may begin to appear differs between diseases. Symptoms may begin in a single age range, or during several age ranges. The symptoms of some diseases may begin at any age. Knowing when symptoms may have appeared can help medical providers find the correct diagnosis.
Prenatal Selected
Before Birth
Newborn Selected
Birth-4 weeks
Infant Selected
1-23 months
Child Selected
2-11 years
Adolescent Selected
12-18 years
Adult Selected
19-65 years
Older Adult Selected
65+ years
Symptoms may start to appear at any time in life.

Symptoms

The types of symptoms experienced, and their intensity, may vary among people with this disease. Your experience may be different from others. Consult your health care team for more information.

The following describes the symptom(s) associated with this disease along with the corresponding body system(s), description, synonyms, and frequency (Note: Not all possible symptoms may be listed):
Digestive System Digestive System

43 Symptoms

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Body Systems

Symptoms related to this disease may affect different systems of the body. Use the 'Filter and Sort' function to learn more about which body system(s) are affected by this disease and their associated symptom(s).

Causes

What Causes This Disease?

Genetic Mutations

Can This Disease Be Passed Down From Parent to Child?

Autosomal Dominant

Find Your Community

How Can Patient Organizations Help?

Patient organizations can help patients and families connect. They build public awareness of the disease and are a driving force behind research to improve patients' lives. They may offer online and in-person resources to help people live well with their disease. Many collaborate with medical experts and researchers.

Services of patient organizations differ, but may include:

  • Ways to connect to others and share personal stories
  • Easy-to-read information
  • Up-to-date treatment and research information
  • Patient registries
  • Lists of specialists or specialty centers
  • Financial aid and travel resources

Please note: GARD provides organizations for informational purposes only and not as an endorsement of their services. Please contact an organization directly if you have questions about the information or resources it provides.

View GARD's criteria for including patient organizations, which can be found under the FAQs on our About page. Request an update or to have your organization added to GARD

Patient Organizations

5 Organizations

Organization Name

Who They Serve

Helpful Links

Country

People With

Alagille Syndrome

Helpful Links
Country

United States

People With

Rare Diseases

Helpful Links
Country

United States

People With

Rare Diseases

Helpful Links
Country

United States

People With

Rare Diseases

Helpful Links
Country

United States

People With

Rare Diseases

Helpful Links
Country

United States

Participating in Clinical Studies

Clinical studies are part of clinical research and play an important role in medical advances, including for rare diseases. Through clinical studies, researchers may ultimately uncover better ways to treat, prevent, diagnose, and understand human diseases.

What Are Clinical Studies?

  1. Clinical trials determine if a new test or treatment for a disease is effective and safe by comparing groups receiving different tests/treatments.
  2. Observational studies involve recording changes over time among a specific group of people in their natural settings.
Learn more about clinical trials from this U.S. Food & Drug Administration webpage.

Why Participate in Clinical Studies?

What if There Are No Available Clinical Studies?

Join the All of Us Research Program!

What Are Clinical Studies?

Clinical studies are medical research involving people as participants. There are two main types of clinical studies:
  1. Clinical trials determine if a new test or treatment for a disease is effective and safe by comparing groups receiving different tests/treatments.
  2. Observational studies involve recording changes over time among a specific group of people in their natural settings.
Learn more about clinical trials from this U.S. Food & Drug Administration webpage.
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Why Participate in Clinical Studies?

People participate in clinical trials for many reasons. People with a disease may participate to receive the newest possible treatment and additional care from clinical study staff as well as to help others living with the same or similar disease. Healthy volunteers may participate to help others and to contribute to moving science forward.

To find the right clinical study we recommend you consult your doctors, other trusted medical professionals, and patient organizations. Additionally, you can use ClinicalTrials.gov to search for clinical studies by disease, terms, or location.
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What if There Are No Available Clinical Studies?

Join the All of Us Research Program!

ClinicalTrials.gov, an affiliate of NIH, provides current information on clinical research studies in the United States and abroad. Talk to a trusted doctor before choosing to participate in any clinical study. We recommend checking this site often and searching for studies with related terms/synonyms to improve results.
Contact a GARD Information Specialist if you need help finding more information on this rare disease or available clinical studies. Please note that GARD cannot enroll individuals in clinical studies. 
Available toll-free Monday through Friday from 12 pm to 6 pm Eastern Time
(Except: Federal Holidays)
Use the contact form to send your questions to a GARD Information Specialist.

Please allow 2 to 10 business days for us to respond.
ClinicalTrials.gov, an affiliate of NIH, provides current information on clinical research studies in the United States and abroad. Talk to a trusted doctor before choosing to participate in any clinical study. We recommend checking this site often and searching for studies with related terms/synonyms to improve results.
Contact a GARD Information Specialist if you need help finding more information on this rare disease or available clinical studies. Please note that GARD cannot enroll individuals in clinical studies. 
Available toll-free Monday through Friday from 12 pm to 6 pm Eastern Time
(Except: Federal Holidays)
Use the contact form to send your questions to a GARD Information Specialist.

Please allow 2 to 10 business days for us to respond.
Getting a Diagnosis

Take steps toward getting a diagnosis by working with your doctor, finding the right specialists, and coordinating medical care.

Last Updated: January 2024