AIM: To analyse the expression of heat shock protein (HSP) 60 in biliary epithelium in auto-immune liver conditions and also in chronic cholestatic and other liver diseases. METHODS: Hepatic expression of HSP-60 in frozen liver biopsy specimens from patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), auto-immune hepatitis (AIH), obstructive jaundice (LDO), alcoholic liver disease (ALD), and from normal controls was studied by immunohistochemistry using the APAAP technique and confocal laser scanning microscopy. RESULTS: Increased expression of HSP-60 was demonstrated in the biliary epithelium of patients with PBC, LDO and, to a lesser extent, with PSC. Focal, weaker, biliary epithelial expression of HSP-60 was observed in AIH, ALD and normal liver tissue. Increased expression was also seen on Kupffer cells in LDO and in hepatocytes in areas of piecemeal necrosis in AIH. CONCLUSION: Enhanced biliary expression of HSP-60 is a common feature of chronic biliary disease irrespective of aetiology and is not specific to auto-immune diseases.