, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 108-116
Date: 08 Sep 2010

Serum IgG4-negative autoimmune pancreatitis

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Autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) is considered to be a pancreatic lesion of IgG4-related systemic disease, but about 20% of AIP patients do not have elevated serum IgG4 levels. This study aimed to clarify the pathophysiology of AIP patients without elevated serum IgG4 levels.


Fifty-eight AIP patients were divided into 2 groups: those with elevated serum IgG4 levels (>135 mg/dl; SIgG4-positive AIP) and those without (SIgG4-negative AIP). The 2 groups’ clinical, serological, radiological, and histological findings, as well as salivary and lacrimal gland function, were compared.


Serum IgG4 levels were elevated in 45 AIP patients and normal in 13 patients. In SIgG4-negative AIP patients, the female ratio tended to be high; obstructive jaundice was less likely; abdominal pain and acute pancreatitis were more likely; segmental swelling of the pancreatic body and/or tail was more common; sclerosing extrapancreatic lesions, salivary and lacrimal gland dysfunction, and abundant infiltration of IgG4-positive plasma cells in the gastric mucosa were less likely; and conservative follow-up was sometimes implemented. Histological examination of the pancreas of SIgG4-negative AIP showed lymphoplasmacytic sclerosing pancreatitis (LPSP) rather confined to the pancreas (n = 4), inadequate material (n = 2), and pancreatic fibrosis showing infiltration of lymphocytes without infiltration of IgG4-positive cells or neutrophils (n = 2).


Clinicopathological features of SIgG4-negative AIP differed from those of SIgG4-positive AIP. Some SIgG4-negative AIP cases are LPSP rather confined to the pancreas. SIgG4-negative AIP may include idiopathic duct-centric pancreatitis (IDCP) or sclerosing pancreatitis other than LPSP or IDCP, but further studies are needed to clarify this issue.