Applicability of the IAIHG scoring system to the diagnosis of antimitochondrial/anti-M2 seropositive variant form of autoimmune hepatitis

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Abstract

Background and Aims

According to the International Autoimmune Hepatitis Group (IAIHG) criteria, circulating antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA) do not support the diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). The aims of this study were to characterize a subset of patients with AIH who have AMA and antiM2 seropositivity, and to assess the applicability of the revised scoring system of the IAIHG in the diagnosis of this variant form of AIH.

Methods

Eighteen patients with AMA-AIH were enrolled and compared with 206 classical AIH and 85 primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) controls. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II alleles were determined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification with sequence-specific primers, and biopsies were blindly reevaluated.

Results

The patients with AMA-AIH were, on average, older than patients with classical AIH and had an hepatocellular pattern of elevated liver enzymes, hypergammaglobulinemia and lower levels of cholesterol, when compared with PBC controls. There were no histological signs of PBC or overlapping forms in any AMA-AIH biopsies. The majority of patients with AMA-AIH carried HLA antigens associated with classical AIH (DRB1*03, n = 5; DRB1*04, n = 7, and DRB1*13, n = 6). Pretreatment scores classified all AMA-AIH patients with probable (n = 17) or improbable (n = 1) AIH. After treatment, only 28% of AMA-AIH patients reached scores for definite diagnosis, compared with 90.1% of AIH-1 and 96.4 AIH-2. In the AMA-AIH group, only patients who relapsed after immunosuppressive drug withdrawal could be classified with definite AIH.

Conclusions

AMA-AIH shares common features with classical AIH. The diagnosis of AMA-AIH may be swayed by the IAIHG criteria, rendering questionable the applicability of the revised scoring system to this variant form of AIH.

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