Autoimmune cholangiopathy: Part of the spectrum of autoimmune chronic active hepatitis

Authors

  • Ziv Ben-Ari,

    1. Departments of Medicine, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London, NW3 2QG, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Amar Paul Dhillon,

    1. Departments of Histopathology, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London, NW3 2QG, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Professor Sheila Sherlock

    Corresponding author
    1. Departments of Surgery, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London, NW3 2QG, United Kingdom
    • Department of Surgery, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, Pond Street, London NW3 2QG, UK
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

We describe four patients with features overlapping those of primary biliary cirrhosis and autoimmune chronic active hepatitis. Three were female and one was male; only one was symptomatic. Serum biochemical study showed increases in alkaline phosphatase and α-glutamyltranspeptidase levels. Markers of hepatitis B and C viruses were absent. In all four patients, serum mitochondrial antibodies could not be detected on immunofluorescence study and serum M2 antibodies were absent. All four patients had high titers of serum antinuclear antibody of diffuse type. Serum actin antibodies were detected in all four patients. Liver biopsy specimens showed histological features of primary biliary cirrhosis, with marked cellular infiltration of the portal areas and bile duct damage. Intralobular inflammation and piecemeal necrosis were mild. Three patients were treated with prednisolone and showed rapid clinical and biochemical remission. Serial liver biopsy specimens showed reduced inflammation, but bile duct lesions persisted. These patients probably form a subgroup of autoimmune chronic active type 1 with predominant bile duct damage. The subgroup might be termed autoimmune cholangiopathy. (HEPATOLOGY 1993;18:10–15).

Ancillary