Background - High mobility group (HMG) non-histone chromosomal proteins HMG1 and HMG2 have been identified as novel antigens of perinuclear anti- neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (pANCAs), and the existence of anti-HMG1 and anti-HMG2 antibodies in a population of patients with ulcerative colitis has been reported. Aims - To investigate whether HMG1 and HMG2 are target antigens for p-ANCAs in autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). Patients - Serum samples from 28 patients with AIH, 44 patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), 27 patients with chronic hepatitis C, and 23 patients with chronic hepatitis B were tested. Methods - ANCAs were detected by routine indirect immunofluorescence (IIF). Anti-HMG1 and anti-HMG2 antibodies were assayed by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Results - p-ANCAs were detected in 89% (25/28) of patients with AIH, 36% (16/44) of patients with PBC, 11% (3/27) of patients with chronic hepatitis C, and 13% (3/23) of patients with chronic hepatitis B. Anti-HMG1 and/or anti-HMG2 antibodies were detected in 89% (25/28) of patients with AIH, 70% (31/44) with PBC, 26% (7/27) with chronic hepatitis C, and 9% (2/23) with chronic hepatitis B. In AIH, anti-HMG1 and/or anti-HMG2 antibodies were detected in 96% (24/25) of p-ANCA positive patients. The p-ANCA staining pattern detected by IIF using sera from patients with AIH disappeared or decreased in titre after preincubation with a mixture of HMG1/HMG2. The presence and titres of those antibodies in AIH correlated significantly with those of p-ANCA, but not with those of antinuclear antibody or anti-smooth muscle antibody. Conclusions - HMG1 and HMG2 are significant target antigens of p-ANCA in AIH.
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