Characterization and clinical relevance of liver-pancreas antibodies in autoimmune hepatitis

Hepatology. 1993 Jul;18(1):1-9.


The isolation of a marker antigen from rat liver and pancreas tissue, which reacts with antibodies in a subtype of autoimmune hepatitis by complement fixation test, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot, is described. The liver-pancreas antigen could be detected in tissue from different human or animal organs, but liver and pancreas yielded the highest activity. A highly specific antigen fraction was obtained by gel filtration and ion exchange chromatography with a 100,000 g supernatant from rat liver tissue, and this preparation was shown to be devoid of nuclear, mitochondrial and microsomal antigens and cytokeratin 8 and 18, as demonstrated by appropriate marker antibodies. These data and absorption studies with cell organelles indicate that liver-pancreas antigen is a cytosolic protein. By Western blotting, two major epitopes at molecular weights 52 kD and 48 kD could be visualized. Sera from 175 patients previously shown to have high complement-fixing activity to a nonpurified liver-pancreas antigen fraction were further analyzed. All were positive by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with the purified liver-pancreas antigen fractions, and 111 were also positive by Western blot. Eighty-six sera reacted with the 52-kD determinant, 33 with the 48-kD determinant and 2 with both determinants. In 117 of the 175 patients, antibody to liver-pancreas antigen was associated with other autoantibodies known to characterize subgroups of autoimmune hepatitis. Thus 19 patients had antibodies to nuclei and 96 to actin but none to liver-kidney microsomes, hereby suggesting that antibody to liver-pancreas antigen may define another subgroup of autoimmune hepatitis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Autoantigens / analysis
  • Autoantigens / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cattle
  • Child
  • Complement System Proteins / immunology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Liver / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas / immunology*
  • Rabbits
  • Species Specificity
  • Swine


  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Complement System Proteins