Current Hepatitis Reports

, Volume 8, Supplement 1, pp 13–17

Autoantibodies in Hepatitis C Infection: What Do They Mean?


DOI: 10.1007/s11901-010-0084-9

Cite this article as:
Pan, JJ. & Firpi, R.J. Curr Hepatitis Rep (2009) 8(Suppl 1): 13. doi:10.1007/s11901-010-0084-9

Non–organ-specific autoantibodies, including antinuclear antibodies, anti–smooth muscle antibodies, and anti–liver/kidney microsomal type 1 antibodies, are present in about one third of patients with chronic hepatitis C. Two theories of autoantibody generation in patients with hepatitis C are proposed. The first proposes that the binding of hepatitis C virus to CD81 on B-lymphocytes lowers the activation threshold of these cells, thus facilitating the production of autoantibodies. The second proposes that the autoantibodies are produced through molecular mimicry. Unfortunately, the pathogenic role of these autoantibodies remains controversial. In addition, whether the autoantibodies can adversely affect treatment outcomes when patients receive interferon-α is unclear. Although the presence of autoantibodies in patients with hepatitis C is not considered a contraindication to interferon therapy, patients should be monitored carefully while on therapy.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Hepatobiliary Diseases, Room M483, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Department of MedicineUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA