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Hepatogastroenterology. 2004 Jul-Aug;51(58):937-40.

No prognostic significance of antimitochondrial antibody profile testing in primary biliary cirrhosis.

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Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



The rate of disease progression varies considerably between individuals with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). On the basis of serological subtyping 4 antimitochondrial antibody (AMA) profiles (A, B, C and D) can be defined. The finding of previous studies that profile C/D is associated with a progressive course, in contrast to profile A/B, is a question of debate. The aim of the study was to investigate whether AMA profiles predicted the course for a cohort of Dutch PBC patients.


Patients with an established diagnosis of AMA-positive PBC, AMA-negative PBC patients, non-PBC decompensated cirrhotics and healthy volunteers. Serum samples from 38 AMA-positive progressive patients, 31 AMA-positive patients without evidence of progression for at least 6 years, 5 AMA-negative PBC patients, 5 non-PBC decompensated cirrhotics and 5 healthy volunteers were assessed. AMA profiles were determined without knowledge of the clinical data.


In the progressive AMA-positive group, 13% had profile A/B and 84% had profile C/D. In the non-progressive group, 13% had profile A/B, 77% profile C/D; 10% had no profile. During follow-up, a change from profile A/B to profile C/D or vice versa was not observed.


This study found that not only PBC patients with AMA profile C/D but also patients with profile A/B may run a progressive course and therefore does not support the suggestion that AMA profiles can be used as independent prognostic indicator. The divergent results of this and previous studies may be explained by the selection of different patient populations.

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