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Virchows Arch A Pathol Anat Histol. 1977 Mar 11;373(2):143-60.

Histopathological features in mixed types of chronic aggressive hepatitis and primary biliary cirrhosis. Correlations of liver histology with mitochondrial antibodies of different specificity.


A histopathological study was carried out on 27 patients with chronic inflammatory liver disease and clinical and/or biochemical evidence of cholestasis who had either mitochondrial antibodies against mitochondrial antigen fractions of 1.19 density ("PBC antigen"; 14 cases) or of 1.13 density ("CAH-PBC mixed-type antigen"; 13 cases). For comparison, the liver biopsies of 17 patients with chronic-aggressive hepatitis (CAH) and antinuclear and/or anti-smooth muscle antibodies but without cholestasis and mitochondrial antibodies, were evaluated. The 14 patients with mitochondrial antibodies against the PBC antigen showed the typical histological features of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). The 13 patients with mitochondrial antibodies against the CAH-PBC mixed-type antigen had heterogenous liver alterations. In 11 cases highly active CAH and/or active postnecrotic cirrhosis (AC) were found both with augmented ductular proliferation. Some of these cases showed distinct criteria of PBC as early bile duct lesions or absence of regular bile ducts. The liver histology of one case corresponded to classical PBC; another case to chronic persistent hepatitis. The CAH-patients without cholestasis and mitochondrial antibodies only occasionally showed bile duct proliferation. In conclusion, a high correlation was found between mitochondrial antibodies against the CAH-PBC mixed-type antigen and highly active CAH or early AC with augmented ductular proliferation. This represents an overlapping of CAH and PBC. In contrast, the cases with antibodies reacting to the PBC antigen showed the slowly progressive liver changes of typical PBC.

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