Antibodies reacting with a liver membrane lipoprotein (LSP) have been detected by radioimmunoassay in the sera of 15 (27%) of 55 patients with alcohol-related liver lesions. There was a close association between the presence of the anti-LSP antibody and the findings on liver biopsy of a lymphocytic infiltrate in the portal tracts together with piecemeal necrosis of periportal hepatocytes. These histological features are characteristically found in the autoimmune disorder of chronic active hepatitis, in which anti-LSP antibodies are almost invariably present. It is suggested that in these cases of alcoholic liver disease there is loss of tolerance, and continued production of anti-LSP could promote periportal inflammation and accelerate the progression to cirrhosis. In the cases of acute alcoholic hepatitis without periportal inflammation studied, anti-LSP was not detected demonstrating that production of this autoantibody is not simply secondary to liver damage.
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