Non--Organ-Specific Autoantibodies in Children with Chronic Hepatitis C: Clinical Significance and Impact on Interferon Treatment

Muratori, Paolo; Muratori, Luigi; Verucchi, Gabriella; Attard, Luciano; Bianchi, Francesco B.; Lenzi, Marco
November 2003
Clinical Infectious Diseases;11/15/2003, Vol. 37 Issue 10, p1320
Academic Journal
We evaluated the prevalence and clinical significance of non­organ-specific autoantibodies (NOSAs) in 47 hepatitis C virus (HCV)­positive children with abnormal alanine transaminase levels and analyzed the association between NOSAs and virus level, genotype, human leukocyte antigen status, and interferon (IFN) response. Forty-two hepatitis B virus (HBV)­positive children and 25 age- and sex-matched healthy children served as control subjects. NOSAs were found in 34% of the HCV­positive children, 12% of the HBV­positive controls, and none of the healthy control subjects. Liver-kidney microsomal antibody type 1 (LKM1) was detected in 11% of the HCV­positive children but in none of the controls. The HCV load was significantly higher in NOSA-negative than in NOSA-positive children. HCV genotype distribution and human leukocyte antigen alleles were similar, irrespective of NOSA status. Long-term response to IFN therapy was achieved by 18% of the NOSA-positive and 55% of the NOSA-negative subjects. Two LKM1-positive children developed acute, self-limited hepatocellular necrosis while receiving IFN therapy. NOSAs are frequently present in children with hepatitis C, who are less likely to benefit from IFN therapy.


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