Clinical and biologic importance of F-actin autoantibodies in HCV monoinfected and HCV-HIV coinfected patients.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between serum filamentous (F)-actin antibody titers and severity of hepatitis present in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients. Liver biopsy samples from 18 HCV monoinfected and 20 HCV-HIV coinfected patients were graded with respect to the degree of hepatitis activity and intensity of plasma cell infiltration using MUM-1 and CD138 immunostains. Of the 38 HCV-infected patients, 6 (16%) had F-actin antibody titers in excess of 30 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay units. We found a positive trend between serum F-actin antibody levels and the mean number of plasma cells present in the portal tracts of patients with HCV infection (r = 0.31; P = .06) and a significant association between these factors in HCV-HIV coinfected patients (r = 0.64; P = .002). Our data suggest that elevated serum F-actin antibody titers are commonly encountered in HCV-infected patients and may reflect more active inflammation in liver biopsy samples, similar to autoimmune hepatitis.