Background: Antibodies to soluble liver antigen, P450IID6, and the E2 subunits of mitochondrial dehydrogenase complexes occur in autoimmune liver diseases, but their specificities and implications are uncertain. The aims of the present study were to assess the importance of these autoantibodies in different types of chronic hepatitis.
Methods: Sera from 62 patients with autoimmune hepatitis, 37 patients with cryptogenic hepatitis, and 19 patients with chronic hepatitis C were assessed under code by enzyme immunoassay.
Results: Antibodies to soluble liver antigen were found in 7 patients with autoimmune hepatitis (11%) and 5 patients with cryptogenic disease (14%). Patients with antibodies to soluble liver antigen were indistinguishable from seronegative counterparts with autoimmune hepatitis. Seropositive patients with cryptogenic hepatitis had autoimmune features, and they responded to corticosteroid therapy. Five patients (8%) with autoimmune hepatitis were seropositive for antibodies to mitochondrial complexes. Three lacked antimitochondrial antibodies. None of the patients had antibodies to P450IID6, and patients with chronic hepatitis C were seronegative for all markers.
Conclusions: Antibodies to soluble liver antigen do not define a distinct subgroup of patients with autoimmune hepatitis. They may be found in some patients with corticosteroid-responsive cryptogenic hepatitis. Antibodies to E2 subunits and P450IID6 are uncommon in adults with chronic hepatitis.