Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been shown to induce anti-liver-kidney microsomal-1 (LKM1) antibody positive chronic active hepatitis, simulating type 2 autoimmune chronic active hepatitis. The cases of five patients presenting with features of type 1 (antinuclear antibody positive) autoimmune chronic active hepatitis and extrahepatic autoimmune manifestations, in whom immunosuppressive treatment had no effect on liver disease are presented. In these patients, HCV infection could be shown by the presence in serum of anti-HCV antibodies and HCV-RNA detected by polymerase chain reaction. These cases suggest the following: (a) chronic HCV infection can mimic type 1, as well as type 2, autoimmune chronic active hepatitis; (b) HCV infection might be systematically sought in patients presenting with features of type 1 autoimmune chronic active hepatitis, with special care in patients who are unresponsive to immunosuppressive treatment.
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