Acute and convalescent sera from 44 patients with non-A, non-B hepatitis were tested for organ and non-organ specific autoantibodies by indirect immunofluorescence. In the acute-phase sera, 36.4% of the patients were positive for smooth muscle antibodies. Brush border antibodies and anti-reticulin antibodies were detected in 13.6% of the patients. Only two patients (4.5%) were positive for anti-nuclear anti-bodies. The autoantibody pattern did not relate to the different epidemiology, sex, a previous hepatitis B virus infection or to the biochemical liver function tests. The autoantibody pattern did not differ statistically in patients who recovered (23 cases) and in patients who progressed to chronic liver disease (21 cases), even if a higher frequency of smooth muscle antibodies was detected in the latter group. Convalescent sera screening showed that the clinical course of the disease did not relate to the behaviour of smooth muscle antibodies, brush border antibodies and anti-reticulin antibodies. However, an increase (28.6%) in anti-nuclear antibodies in patients who progressed to chronic liver disease was observed. The clinical significance of the presence of serological markers of autoimmunity in patients with chronic sequelae following acute non-A, non-B hepatitis is discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)