Essential cryoglobulinaemia was detected in 44 out of 150 patients (29%) screened on the basis of histological confirmation of chronic inflammatory liver disease (chronic persistent or aggressive hepatitis, or cirrhosis). Cryoglobulinemia prevailed in the patients whose hepatic tissue showed more features of active inflammation; also, a female prevalence was observed. There were no correlations between cryoglobulinaemia and either HBsAg positivity or alcoholic liver disease. Mixed cryoglobulins made of heterogeneous immunoglobulins without monotypic components were mostly associated with established cirrhosis, whereas monotypic cryoglobulins were exclusively found in patients with either persistent or aggressive chronic hepatitis. Mixed cryoglobulins with a monotypic component were associated with all histological grades of liver damage. This study affords an objective evaluation of both the frequency and immunochemical features of cryoglobulins associated with chronic inflammatory liver disease.
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