Clinical significance of serum autoantibodies in patients with NAFLD: results from the nonalcoholic steatohepatitis clinical research network
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- Vuppalanchi, R., Gould, R.J., Wilson, L.A. et al. Hepatol Int (2012) 6: 379. doi:10.1007/s12072-011-9277-8
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Some studies have suggested that autoantibodies might define a subcategory and phenotype of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) associated with advanced histological features. We evaluated the relationship between the presence of serum autoantibodies and liver histology in a large cohort of well-characterized patients with NAFLD.
A total of 864 NAFLD patients participating in two prospective multicentre clinical studies underwent testing for serum autoantibodies within 24 months of a liver biopsy. Liver histology was compared between the patients with and without ANA ≥ 1:160 or ASMA ≥ 1:40 or both.
Autoantibodies were present in 182 patients (21%). There was no difference in age, gender, race, body mass index (BMI), homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), or history of diabetes between the two groups. Biopsies in subjects with autoantibodies were less likely to have moderate-to-severe steatosis (i.e., >33%) compared to controls (57.1 vs. 43.0%, P value = 0.0006). Lobular inflammation (46.7 vs. 47.5%), ballooning degeneration (38.5 vs. 42.5%), and advanced fibrosis (33.2 vs. 29.3%) were not different between the two groups. Histologic evidence of ‘definite’ NASH did not differ significantly between the two groups (55.5 vs. 58.9%). After adjusting for age, gender, BMI, race, and diabetes, the presence of autoantibodies was independently associated with lower prevalence of moderate-to-severe steatosis [odds ratio (OR), 0.58; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.41–0.82; P = 0.01].
Autoantibodies are frequently positive in NAFLD in the absence of autoimmune hepatitis and their occurrence is not associated with more advanced histologic features.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
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