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Clin Exp Immunol. 1987 Jun;68(3):588-95.

Precipitating antibodies to rabbit thymus extractable antigens in chronic liver disease: relationship with anti-actin antibodies.

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Istituto di Patologia Medica, Cattedra di Clinica Medica II, University of Bologna, Italy.


Using counterimmunoelectrophoresis (CIE), serum antibodies to rabbit thymus extractable antigens were detected in 15% (38/259) of patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) of various aetiologies and 33% (41/124) of patients with miscellaneous connective tissue diseases (CTD). A remarkable diversity of precipitating systems was apparent among cases with the two classes of disorders. All the five systems found in CLD (XR, XR2, SS-B, XR3, XR4) were associated mostly with immunological hepatic disorders. In the 52 autoimmune hepatitis cases, XR was mainly detected (29%), whereas in the 82 primary biliary cirrhosis patients the whole spectrum of reactivities was represented (XR: 11%, XR2: 10%, SS-B and XR3: 2% each, XR4: 1%). XR proved to be closely associated with smooth muscle antibodies (SMA, detected by indirect immunofluorescence on rat kidney sections) both qualitatively and quantitatively. Since all SMA positive sera with anti-actin specificity (SMAT, SMAG) were XR positive and purified actin could absorb out XR CIE reactivity, the hypothesis is made that a cross-reaction occurs between XR antigen and actin epitope(s).

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