Liver involvement in essential mixed cryoglobulinemia

Ric Clin Lab. Oct-Dec 1979;9(4):361-8. doi: 10.1007/BF02904572.


Twenty-one of 30 patients with essential mixed cryoglobulinemia (EMC) had evidence of liver involvement. The liver disease was characterized by the absence of clinical symptoms, hepatosplenomegaly, mild elevation of enzymes, abnormal BSP retention and low albumin levels. Histology, available in 12 patients, showed either chronic persistent or chronic active hepatitis or liver cirrhosis; 44% of the patients had HBsAg or HBsAb in sera and/or cryoglobulins, confirming the high frequency of exposure to hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in EMC. However, liver lesions were similar in all patients, regardless of HBV exposure. Since other factors usually associated with chronic liver diseases were absent or apparently irrelevant, it is temptative to speculate that a 'cryoglobulinemic hepatitis' may exist as a distinct syndrome. The characteristic complement profile of the patients with EMC (low CH50 and C4, normal C3PA), not related to albumin levels, can help to differentiate this disease from chronic liver disease without cryoglobulins.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cryoglobulins*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis / complications
  • Hepatitis B / complications
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Diseases / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraproteinemias / complications*


  • Cryoglobulins
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens