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Abstract

Multiple nuclear dots antinuclear antibodies display a specific immunofluorescence pattern on HEp-2 cells. They have been reported to be strongly associated with primary biliary cirrhosis, especially when sicca syndrome was present. To determine whether multiple nuclear dots antinuclear antibodies are specific for primary biliary cirrhosis, we studied the clinical, biochemical, immunological and morphological features of 38 patients between December 1983 and September 1990 who had serum multiple nuclear dots antinuclear antibodies detected in an immunology laboratory of a large medical center. Sufficient information was reliable in 36 patients; the group included 31 women and 5 men (mean age = 57.6 ± 14.5, range = 30 to 87). Fifteen patients (42%) had primary biliary cirrhosis, 5 patients (14%) had type 1 autoimmune chronic active hepatitis, 4 patients (11%) had liver disease of unknown cause and 12 patients (33%) had various immunological disorders but no liver disease. Two of the patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (13%) had clinical sicca syndrome. Our study demonstrates the following: (a) serum multiple nuclear dots antinuclear antibodies are not specific for liver disease because they can be observed in one third of patients with various immunological disorders without liver involvement, and (b) serum multiple nuclear dots antinuclear antibodies are not specific for PBC because they can also be observed in type 1 autoimmune chronic active hepatitis. Our results also suggest that patent sicca syndrome is abnormally present in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis and multiple nuclear dots antinuclear antibodies. (HEPATOLOGY 1992;16:127–131.)