Antibodies to single-stranded and double-stranded DNA in antinuclear antibody-positive type 1-autoimmune hepatitis



To determine the significance of antibodies to single-stranded (anti-ssDNA) and double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) in antinuclear antibody (ANA)-positive type 1 autoimmune hepatitis, sera from 53 patients were tested by enzyme immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and indirect immunofluorescence using the Crithidia luciliae substrate. Anti-dsDNA were detected in 18 patients (34%) by ELISA and 12 patients (23%) by the Crithidia-based assay. Twenty patients with anti-dsDNA by either assay (38%) had higher serum levels of immunoglobulin G (3971 ± 270 mg/dL vs. 3201 ± 247 mg/dL, P = .05) than seronegative patients. They also had human leukocyte antigen (HLA) DR4 more commonly than other patients (83% vs. 41%, P = .006) and normal subjects (83% vs. 30%, P = .00007). In contrast to patients seropositive by the Crithidia-based assay, those seropositive by ELISA failed corticosteroid therapy more commonly (24% vs. 3%, P = .04). Anti-ssDNA were found in 45 patients (85%) and they did not distinguish patients with different clinical features or outcomes. We conclude that anti-dsDNA are common in ANA-positive type 1 autoimmune hepatitis. HLA DR4 is associated with their production, and seropositivity by ELISA characterizes patients who have a poorer immediate response to corticosteroid treatment. Anti-ssDNA are common but they do not have important clinical implications.