Non-organ specific autoantibodies associated with chronic C virus hepatitis

J Hepatol. 1993 Jul;18(3):359-64. doi: 10.1016/s0168-8278(05)80281-8.


Recently antibodies to hepatitis C virus were detected in sera of chronic active hepatitis patients, with anti-smooth muscle autoantibodies or with anti-liver/kidney microsomal type 1 autoantibodies. As the latter were used to differentiate autoimmune chronic active hepatitis from chronic non-A, non-B virus hepatitis, it was mainly important to discover if autoantibodies were associated with chronic hepatitis C virus infection. The sera of 272 chronic hepatitis C patients were screened by indirect immunofluorescence for non-organ specific autoantibodies. Antinuclear antibodies and anti-smooth muscle autoantibodies were more frequent in chronic hepatitis C patients than in blood donors (n = 100). Anti-liver/kidney microsomal type 1 autoantibodies were not detected in the sera of the blood donors, in the 74 hepatitis B patients or in the 30 alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhotic patients' sera tested as controls. They were detected in 14 chronic hepatitis C patients. These antibodies were compared in immunodiffusion to anti-liver/kidney microsomal type 1 autoantibodies sera obtained from type-2 autoimmune chronic active hepatitis patients and an identity reaction was observed. Chronic hepatitis C patients without or with anti-liver/kidney microsomal type 1 autoantibodies, did not differ in age, sex ratio, transaminases and gammaglobulin level, risk factors for hepatitis C virus infection, association with other autoimmune diseases. These patients differed significantly from type-2 autoimmune chronic active hepatitis patients. We conclude that: (i) in some chronic hepatitis C patients the pattern and the titer of autoantibodies may create confusion with an autoimmune chronic active hepatitis; (ii) There is no serological evidence for a hepatitis C virus infection in true type-2 autoimmune chronic active hepatitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Antibodies / analysis
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / analysis
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cytosol / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Hepatitis C / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunodiffusion
  • Infant
  • Liver / immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Smooth / immunology
  • Organ Specificity / immunology*
  • Sex Factors


  • Antibodies
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Autoantibodies
  • anti-liver kidney microsome antibody