Antibodies to SS-A/Ro-52kD and centromere in autoimmune liver disease: a clue to diagnosis and prognosis of primary biliary cirrhosis.
Granito A., Muratori P., Muratori L., Pappas G., Cassani F., Worthington J., Ferri S., Quarneti C., Cipriano V., de Molo C., Lenzi M., Chapman RW., Bianchi FB.
BACKGROUND: Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) may be associated with various rheumatological disorders. AIM: To investigate the frequency and significance of 'rheumatological' antinuclear antibodies in the field of autoimmune chronic liver disease, with special regard to PBC. METHODS: We studied 105 patients with PBC, 162 autoimmune liver disease controls (type 1 and 2 autoimmune hepatitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis), 30 systemic lupus erythematosus and 50 blood donors. Sera were tested for the presence of antibodies to extractable nuclear antigens (anti-ENA) by counterimmunoelectrophoresis, enzyme-linked and immunoblot (IB) assay, and for the presence of anti-centromere antibodies (ACA) by indirect immunofluorescence on HEp-2 cells and IB. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of IB-detected anti-ENA in PBC (30%) was higher than in type 1 autoimmune hepatitis (2.5%, P < 0.0001), type 2 autoimmune hepatitis (0%, P < 0.0001) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (11.5%, P = 0.006) and lower than in systemic lupus erythematosus (53%, P = 0.03). The most frequent anti-ENA reactivity in PBC was anti-SSA/Ro-52kD (28%). ACA were detected by IB in 21% PBC patients and never in the other subjects (P < 0.0001). Anti-SS-A/Ro/52kD positive PBC patients had at the time of diagnosis a more advanced histological stage (P = 0.01) and higher serum levels of bilirubin (P = 0.01) and IgM (P = 0.03) compared with negative ones. CONCLUSIONS: In the autoimmune liver disease setting, anti-SS-A/Ro-52kD and ACA have a high specificity for PBC and can thus be of diagnostic relevance in anti-mitochondrial antibodies negative cases. If confirmed in further studies with adequate follow-up, anti-SS-A/Ro-52kD antibodies might identify PBC patients with a more advanced and active disease.