Alpha1-antichymotrypsin globules within hepatocytes in patients with chronic hepatitis C and cirrhosis

Hum Pathol. 2000 May;31(5):575-7. doi: 10.1053/hp.2000.6685.


Alpha1-antichymotrypsin (A1AC) is an acute phase serine protease inhibitor, similar to alpha1-antitrypsin (A1AT) in amino acid sequence. A1AT deficiency is known to be associated with emphysema and cirrhosis; deficiency of serum A1AC has been reported to be associated with emphysema, childhood asthma, and cryptogenic cirrhosis. The hepatocyte globules associated with A1AT deficiency have been well described; A1AC deficiency also has been reported to be associated with hepatocyte globules. The aim of this study was to describe the globules of A1AC and to compare them with A1AT globules. Immunohistochemistry for A1AC and A1AT was performed on liver biopsy specimens from 15 hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive cirrhotic patients, 14 non-HCV cirrhotic patients, and 12 other patients with chronic hepatitis C but no cirrhosis, all of whom had known serum levels of A1AC; most had known serum levels of A1AT. Five of 15 HCV-positive cirrhotic patients, 1 of 14 non-HCV cirrhotic patients, and 1 of 12 noncirrhotic chronic hepatitis C patients had A1AC globules. Two of 15 HCV-positive cirrhotic patients and 2 of 14 non-HCV cirrhotic patients had A1AT globules. Histologically, the globules of A1AC were similar to those of A1AT but were smaller and fewer; the PAS/D stain was not as helpful for A1AC as it was for A1AT; immunohistochemistry was most useful. There was not a good correlation between serum levels of A1AC and its globules in hepatocytes. A1AC globules should be included in the differential diagnosis of hepatocyte inclusions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / metabolism*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / metabolism*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Tissue Distribution
  • alpha 1-Antichymotrypsin / blood
  • alpha 1-Antichymotrypsin / metabolism*
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / metabolism


  • alpha 1-Antichymotrypsin
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin