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J Hepatol. 1987 Aug;5(1):8-13.

Reovirus type 3 infection in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis.

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Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada.


Reovirus type 3 (Reo-3) infection has recently been implicated in the pathogenesis of certain idiopathic, cholestatic liver diseases of newborns. In the present study, antibody titres to Reo-3 virus (anti-Reo-3) were determined in sera from 43 adults with idiopathic cholestatic liver disease, including 34 patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and 9 patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). Seventy-four adults with various other causes of chronic liver disease and 16 healthy volunteers served as controls. Geometric mean titres of anti-Reo-3 were significantly higher in PBC and PSC sera than chronic liver disease and healthy controls (P less than 0.005). Mean antibody titres for all patient groups, however, were within the 95% confidence limits for normals. Seven of 34 (21%) PBC patients and 3/9 (33%) PSC patients had elevated titres of anti-Reo-3, as compared to only 4/74 (5%) chronic liver disease (P less than 0.05) and 0/16 (0%) healthy control subjects (P less than 0.05) (Fisher's Exact Test). Antibody titres to five other common viruses were normal in patients with high anti-Reo-3 titres when compared to age- and sex-matched controls with liver disease. Immunoperoxidase staining for Reo-3 viral markers and cultures of liver biopsy material for Reo-3 virus were negative in both patients and controls. The results of this study indicate that, although patients with PBC and PSC have higher anti-Reo-3 antibody titres than patients with other forms of chronic liver disease or healthy volunteers, only a minority of these patients have titres that exceed the 95% confidence limits for normals.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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