Background: Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is an autoimmune liver disease characterized by the presence of anti-mitocondrial autoantibodies (AMA) which has an essential role also for diagnosis. In addition, also some anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA) have been shown to be highly specific PBC. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of PBC among the adults referring hospital for annual health check-up in Southern China by screening sera for PBC-specific autoantibodies.
Methods: AMA and ANA were screened in 8,126 adults (mean age 44 ± 15 years, 48% females) by indirect immunofluorenscence (IIF). Positive sera were tested by ELISA/immunoblotting for AMA-M2, anti-sp100 and anti-gp210. A diagnosis of PBC was re-assessed six months after the initial testing.
Results: Out of 8,126 individuals 35 were positive for AMA and 79 positive for ANA. Nineteen, 4, and 3 of the subjects positive for AMA and/or ANA showed reactivity for AMA-M2, anti-sp100 or gp210, respectively, further tested with ELISA/immunoblotting. Fourteen in the 39 individuals positive for AMA at IIF, AMA-M2, anti-gp210, or anti-sp100 had abnormal cholestatic liver functional indices. One definite and 3 probable PBC diagnosis could be made in 4 cases including 3 females and 1 male after half a year.
Conclusions: We found a point prevalence rate of PBC among Southern Chinese adults attending for yearly health check-up of 492 cases per million (95% CI, 128 to 1,093) and 1,558 cases per million (95% CI, 294 to 3,815) for women over 40, a finding similar to prevalence reported in other geographical areas.