Introduction Some pathologic autoantibodies are useful in the diagnosis of autoimmune liver diseases. There is dearth of literature on the prevalence and pattern of autoantibodies in black population of Africans with liver disease, and none from Nigeria. This study sought to determine the prevalence and pattern of autoantibodies among patients with liver diseases and apparently healthy individuals in Nigeria.
Methods The seroprevalence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA), antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA), anti-liver kidney microsomal antibodies (Anti-LKM-1), anti-soluble liver antigen/liver pancreas (Anti-SLA-LP), perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (pANCA), were analysed in patients with liver diseases and apparently health controls, using ELISA method. Appropriate statistical methods were used for Odds ratio, Pearson Chi square and students’ t-test. Significant statistical difference was specified at p < 0.05.
Results One hundred and twenty six patients with liver diseases (91 (72.2%) males and 35 (27.8%) females) and 82 apparently normal control subjects (59 (72%) males and 23 (28%) females) were studied over a two year period. The patients consisted of HCC 77 (61.1%), liver cirrhosis 32 (25.4%), chronic hepatitis 10 (7.9%), acute viral hepatitis 4 (3.2%), alcoholic cirrhosis 1 (0.8%) and primary biliary cirrhosis 2 (1.6%).
The control group consisted of Eighty two (82) apparently normal individuals consisting of were recruited over the study period to serve as controls. Of the 126 cases and 82 controls analysed for autoantibodies, except for ANA ( 107 cases and 67 controls) for autoantibodies only AMA was found to be significantly higher among cases compared with controls. Antimitochondrial antibodies were present in 76 (60.3%) of the cases compared with 36 (43.9%) controls (p < 0.05), while ANA were present in 42 (39.3%) of cases compared with 27 (39.7%) controls (p = 0.68). Anti-soluble liver antigen (anti-SLA/LP) and pANCA were completely absent among cases and controls Table 2.
Chronic hepatitis had the highest frequency of AMA, being positive in 9 (90%) of the 10 cases, this was followed by HCC, 48(62.3%) of the 77 cases tested were positive for AMA.
Conclusion Serological autoantibodies were equally present in both liver diseases and in health, and would not be sufficient for the diagnosis of autoimmune liver disease in Africans. Therefore, other parameters have to be considered whenever there is a clinical suspicion of autoimmune liver disease among Nigerians.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
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