Published online Aug 7, 2010. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i29.3704
Revised: March 20, 2010
Accepted: March 27, 2010
Published online: August 7, 2010
AIM: To evaluate the overlap of autoimmune hepatitis in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients with intense interface hepatitis.
METHODS: Among 1759 patients with hepatitis C submitted to liver biopsy, 92 (5.2%) presented intense interface hepatitis. These patients were evaluated regarding the presence of antinuclear antibody (ANA), anti-smooth muscle antibody (SMA) and anti-liver/kidney microsomal antibody (LKM-1), levels of γ-globulin and histological findings related to autoimmune hepatitis (plasma cell infiltrate and presence of rosettes).
RESULTS: Among patients with hepatitis C and intense interface hepatitis there was a low prevalence of autoantibodies (ANA = 12%, SMA = 5%, LKM-1 = 0%) and the median γ-globulin level was within the normal range. Typical histological findings of autoimmune disease were observed in only two cases (2%). After applying the score for diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis, only one patient was classified with a definitive diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis. Since overlap with autoimmune hepatitis was not the explanation for the intense necroinflammatory activity in patients with chronic hepatitis C we sought to identify the variables associated with this finding. The presence of intense interface hepatitis was associated with more advanced age, both at the time of infection and at the time of the biopsy, and higher prevalence of blood transfusion and alcohol abuse.
CONCLUSION: Although possible, overlap with autoimmune hepatitis is a very rare association in HCV-infected patients with intense interface hepatitis, an unusual presentation which seems to be related to other host variables.