Autoantibodies and Autoantigens in Autoimmune Hepatitis

Christian P. Strassburg, MD, Michael P. Manns, MD


Semin Liver Dis. 2002;22(4) 

In This Article

Autoantibodies Against Soluble Liver Antigen

Autoantibodies that target a soluble liver and pancreas antigen (anti SLA/LP) exhibit a high specificity for AIH. They are detectable in about 10 to 30% of all patients with AIH.[15,18,19,20] In 1992, specific autoantibodies were identified in patients with a severe form of autoimmune chronic active hepatitis. These antibodies precipitated a UGA suppressor serine tRNA-protein complex that is likely to be involved in cotranslational selenocyteine incorporation in human cells.[18] The screening of cDNA expression libraries confirmed these findings and identified a previously unknown amino acid sequence, which presumably encodes a UGA-suppressor tRNA-associated protein, as target antigen of SLA antibodies.[19,20] In addition, it was demonstrated that anti-SLA and the independently described anti-LP are identical, and the designation anti-SLA/LP has replaced anti-SLA and anti-LP.[16,19] Recent data confirmed the previous finding that patients with anti-SLA/LP display a more severe course of AIH.[111,112,113] Regarding the disease specificity, anti-SLA/LP may be linked to the pathogenesis of the autoimmune process; however, the exact function and its role in autoimmunity are so far unclear.


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