Low-titre auto-antibodies predict autoimmune disease during interferon-α treatment of chronic hepatitis C
Article first published online: 19 APR 2002
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Volume 14, Issue 5, pages 419–422, May 1999
How to Cite
Bell, T., Bansal, A., Shorthouse, C., Sandford, N. and Powell, E. (1999), Low-titre auto-antibodies predict autoimmune disease during interferon-α treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 14: 419–422. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1746.1999.01896.x
- Issue published online: 19 APR 2002
- Article first published online: 19 APR 2002
- autoimmune disease;
- hepatitis C;
Background: In this study, we determined whether low-titre auto-antibodies are a risk factor for the development of autoimmune disease during interferon-α (IFNα) therapy for chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection.
Methods: Eighty-three patients with circulating hepatitis C virus RNA and chronic viral hepatitis on liver biopsy, who had not received IFNα, were assessed for serum auto-antibodies (anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA), anti-smooth muscle antibodies, thyroid microsomal antibodies, thyroglobulin antibodies) and thyroid function tests.
Results: Thirty-five patients had one or more pre-existing auto-antibody. The majority were low titre ANA. Seven of the 35 patients had clinical autoimmune disease or immune-mediated disorders, predominantly thyroid disease. Twenty patients with low titre auto-antibodies received treatment with IFNα and of these 20 patients, six patients developed adverse effects with a possible auto-immune basis. In comparison, only five of the 48 patients without auto-antibodies had immune-mediated disorders and no patient developed autoimmune complications during therapy with IFNα.
Conclusions: These results suggest that the presence of low-titre auto-antibodies may be a risk factor for the development of autoimmune dysfunction during IFNα therapy for chronic hepatitis C. Patients with no detectable auto-antibodies have a low risk for developing autoimmune complications during treatment with IFNα.