GSBS Student Publications


High prevalence of serological markers of autoimmunity in patients with chronic hepatitis C

GSBS Program

Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Department of Medicine



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Antibodies, Antinuclear; Autoantibodies; Chronic Disease; Cryoglobulins; Female; Hepatitis C; Humans; Interferons; Kidney; Male; Microsomes; Microsomes, Liver; Middle Aged; Mitochondria; Muscle, Smooth; Rheumatoid Factor


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


The advent of specific antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis C has increased the importance of establishing the correct etiology of chronic hepatitis in patients, especially because interferon alfa (IFN-alpha) has been reported to exacerbate autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), whereas corticosteroids increase viral replication in chronic hepatitis C. In our medical center, we have treated many patients with apparent chronic hepatitis C and serological or clinical evidence of autoimmunity. Our aim was to estimate the prevalence of this association and to learn whether demographic or clinical features distinguished between patients with or without autoimmune markers. We performed a retrospective review of the records of 244 unselected patients seen at the Clinics and Hospital of the University of Massachusetts between May 1991 and November 1993, who had elevated serum aminotransferases. One hundred seventeen patients had chronic hepatitis C defined by elevations of serum alanine transaminase (ALT) for at least 6 months, positive serum antibodies to hepatitis C virus (HCV; second-generation enzyme immunoassay [EIA2] or recombinant immunoblot assay [RIBA]), and absence of hepatitis B surface antigen in the serum. Records were reviewed for results of autoimmune markers in sera, including anti-nuclear antibodies (ANAs), anti-smooth muscle antibodies (SMAs), rheumatoid factor (RF), antimitochondrial antibodies (AMAs), anti-liver and kidney microsomal (LKM) antibodies, and cryoglobulins. We found a high prevalence of positivity, particularly for anti-SMAs (66%) and RF (76%) in both men and women. Forty of 41 patients tested negative for anti-LKM antibodies.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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Citation: Hepatology. 1995 Mar;21(3):613-9.

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

Journal Title

Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)

PubMed ID