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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2009;44(8):994-1003. doi: 10.1080/00365520902929864.

Prevalence of alpha-fodrin antibodies in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection and Sjögren syndrome.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Germany.



Hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) is associated with various extrahepatic manifestations. Antibodies against alpha-fodrin are associated with sicca symptoms and may valuable diagnostic markers in patients with primary Sjögren syndrome (SS) lacking Ro antibodies. The frequency and role of alpha-fodrin antibodies in patients with chronic HCV infection are unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of alpha-fodrin antibodies in HCV-infected patients with SS.


Alpha-fodrin antibodies were detected more often in hepatitis C patients (25%; n=142) than in HBV-infected individuals (8%; n=49) and healthy controls (6%; n=174) (p<0.01). Based on these findings, we investigated the frequency of sicca symptoms in a second cohort and studied other antibodies associated with SS.


HCV-infected individuals showed sicca symptoms in 53% of cases as determined by the Saxon and Schirmer tests, which was more frequent than in healthy controls (1%, p<0.01) but not in patients with autoimmune liver disease (51%). Antibodies specific for Ro (SS-A) were significantly more common in patients with autoimmune liver disease than in HCV-infected patients and healthy controls (16% versus 1% and 0%, p<0.003). SS was found in 18% of patients with HCV, in 15% of patients with autoimmune liver disease and in 1% of healthy controls. However, we found no correlation between sicca symptoms and the presence of antibodies against alpha-fodrin, Ro and La.


Patients with chronic HCV infection show a high prevalence of sicca symptoms and antibodies against alpha-fodrin. However, neither the frequency nor the severity of symptoms correlated with the presence of alpha-fodrin antibodies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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