Detection of antibodies directed against a liver-specific membrane lipoprotein in patients with acute and chronic active hepatitis

The New England Journal of Medicine
D M JensenR Williams


A specific and sensitive radioimmunoassay was used to measure the levels of antibody to a liver-specific membrane lipoprotein in patients with acute and chronic liver disease. Antibody was detected in 29 of 30 patients with chronic active hepatitis (all of 15 HBsAg-negative and 14 of 15 HBsAg-positive cases), and in 10 of 17 patients with chronic persistent hepatitis but at significantly lower titer. The titer of antibody to the lipoprotein showed a significant correlation with activity of disease as judged histologically and biochemically. Transiently elevated levels were found in 20 of 21 patients with acute viral hepatitis, but there was no correlation with the degree of liver damage. Antibody to liver-specific membrane protein may be part of the final common pathway of liver-cell damage in both HBsAg-positive and HBsAg-negative chronic activite hepatitis, whereas other immune mechanisms determine the liver-cell injury in acute viral hepatitis.


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