Published online Feb 28, 2017. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v23.i8.1345
Peer-review started: September 26, 2016
First decision: October 28, 2016
Revised: November 17, 2016
Accepted: December 8, 2016
Article in press: December 8, 2016
Published online: February 28, 2017
To determine how the auto-antibodies (Abs) profiles overlap in chronic hepatitis C infection (CHC) and autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and correlate to liver disease.
Levels of antinuclear Ab, smooth muscle antibody (SMA) and liver/kidney microsomal-1 (LKM-1) Ab and markers of liver damage were determined in the sera of 50 patients with CHC infection, 20 AIH patients and 20 healthy controls using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and other immune assays.
We found that AIH patients had more severe liver disease as determined by elevation of total IgG, alkaline phosphatase, total serum bilirubin and serum transaminases and significantly higher prevalence of the three non-organ-specific autoantibodies (auto-Abs) than CHC patients. Antinuclear Ab, SMA and LKM-1 Ab were also present in 36% of CHC patients and related to disease severity. CHC cases positive for auto-Abs were directly comparable to AIH in respect of most markers of liver damage and total IgG. These cases had longer disease duration compared with auto-Ab negative cases, but there was no difference in gender, age or viral load. KLM-1+ Ab CHC cases showed best overlap with AIH.
Auto-Ab levels in CHC may be important markers of disease severity and positive cases have a disease similar to AIH. Auto-Abs might have a pathogenic role as indicated by elevated markers of liver damage. Future studies will unravel any novel associations between these two diseases, whether genetic or other.
Core tip: This paper aims to determine what patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) produce autoantibodies. Disease duration in CHC is linked to disease severity and autoantibodies. Patients with severe CHC resemble AIH.