Patterns of nuclear immunofluorescence and reactivities to recombinant nuclear antigens in autoimmune hepatitis

Gastroenterology. 1994 Jul;107(1):200-7. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(94)90078-7.


Background/aims: Antibodies to nuclear antigens have not been fully characterized in autoimmune hepatitis. The aims of this study were to determine the different patterns of immunofluorescence associated with antinuclear antibodies and to correlate these patterns with reactivities to recombinant nuclear antigens and clinical manifestations of autoimmune hepatitis.

Methods: Sera from 65 patients were tested by indirect immunofluorescence and by enzyme immunoassay for antibodies to recombinant centromere, ribonucleoproteins, and ribonucleoprotein complexes.

Results: Homogeneous and speckled patterns of immunofluorescence occurred with similar frequencies (34% vs. 38%) in the majority of patients (72%). Patients with speckled patterns were younger and had higher serum aspartate aminotransferase levels at presentation than counterparts with other patterns. Antibodies to centromere (42%) and 52K ribonucleoprotein complex (23%) were the most common reactivities. Of the 35 patients with antibodies, 16 (46%) had multiple specificities. Individual reactivities were not associated with specific immunofluorescent patterns, and they did not identify patients with distinctive features.

Conclusions: Antinuclear antibodies produce mainly homogeneous and speckled patterns of immunofluorescence in patients with autoimmune hepatitis. Speckled patterns are associated with a younger age and greater aminotransferase activity. Multiple autoantibodies are frequently associated with each immunofluorescent pattern. Antibodies to centromere and the 52K ribonucleoprotein complex have a previously unrecognized high frequency and uncertain significance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / immunology
  • Antigens, Nuclear
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Cell Nucleus / chemistry*
  • Cell Nucleus / immunology
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Hepatitis / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuclear Proteins / analysis*
  • Nuclear Proteins / immunology*
  • Phenotype
  • Recombinant Proteins / analysis
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Antigens, Nuclear
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins