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Keywords:

  • indirect immunofluorescence;
  • inflammatory bowel diseases;
  • p-ANCA;
  • type I autoimmune active hepatitis;
  • primary sclerosing cholangitis

Abstract: Perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies have been described in inflammatory bowel diseases and in primary sclerosing cholangitis. Because the data concerning their occurrence are conflicting, we have used indirect immunofluorescence on ethanol-fixed neutrophils to test the sera from a large population of 382 patients with various liver and digestive diseases: in particular, from 27 patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis, 105 patients with autoimmune chronic active hepatitis, 30 patients with primary biliary cirrhosis and 124 patients with inflammatory bowel disease. The prevalence of the perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies was 37% in ulcerative colitis and 15% in Crohn's disease. They would not be helpful in the differential diagnosis between these two inflammatory bowel diseases. Within the group of autoimmune liver diseases, perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies were detected in 44% of sera from patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis and in 36% of sera from patients with type I autoimmune active hepatitis, but not in primary biliary cirrhosis. When primary sclerosing cholangitis was associated with an inflammatory bowel disease, the prevalence of these autoantibodies was 60%. They were 88% specific for primary sclerosing cholangitis and 86% specific for type I autoimmune active hepatitis. Despite their moderate sensitivity and specificity in primary sclerosing cholangitis, they remain the only serologic marker of this autoimmune liver disease. Moreover, they turned out to be a more sensitive marker for inflammatory bowel disease with associated primary sclerosing cholangitis