Hepatocytic Globules in End-Stage Hepatic Disease: Relationship to Alpha1-antitrypsin Phenotype

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Hepatic explant specimens from 171 patients with cirrhosis were examined to determine the incidence of periodic acid-Schiff (PAS)-positive diastase-resistant globules (PDRGs) in end-stage hepatic disease and whether the globules bear a specific relationship to the alpha1-antitrypsin (A1AT) phenotype or to causes of hepatic disease other than A1AT deficiency. PAS-positive diastaseresistant globules were detected in 17 (10%) of the hepatic explant specimens, and the globules in all of these cases were strongly immunoreactive for A1AT. In the 17 patients with PDRGs, the cirrhosis was attributed preoperatively to A1AT deficiency (3 patients), ethanol abuse, viral hepatitis, or both (10 patients), cryptogenic cirrhosis (3 patients), and autoimmune hepatitis (1 patient). The A1AT isoelectric phenotypes classified according to the protease inhibitor (Pi) nomenclature for 16 of these patients were as follows: Pi ZZ (3 patients), Pi SS (1 patient), Pi MZ (8 patients), and Pi MM (4 patients). Because PDRGs were seen in a variety of A1AT phenotypes, serum electrophoretic analysis, not histologic examination, is required for the correct diagnosis of an A1AT abnormality. Furthermore, although PDRGs were seen in a variety of hepatic diseases, the majority of patients with globules had an undetected A1AT abnormality. Accordingly, on identification of hepatocytic PDRGs, the clinician should be alerted to the possibility of an unsuspected A1AT abnormality even in the presence of other causes of hepatic disease.

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