Antibody screening for soluble liver/pancreas antigen is used in the investigation of patients with unknown etiology of hepatic disease as well as patients with autoimmune hepatitis.
Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic, progressive, heterogeneous inflammatory liver disease of unknown etiology. Diagnosis of the disease is often difficult, as there is no common diagnostic test and the presence of symptoms can vary greatly. Diagnosis includes evaluation of clinical, laboratory, and histologic findings as well as the exclusion of other causes of chronic hepatitis. Diagnosis becomes particularly difficult in patients classified as having cryptogenic hepatitis, a condition described as unspecified chronic hepatitis without antibodies against hepatic viruses and without autoimmunity markers. Early diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis and immunosuppressive therapy is essential to prevent severe liver damage.
Patients with autoimmune hepatitis are generally divided into two groups based on the presence of specific autoantibodies. Autoimmune hepatitis type 1 (also referred to as classical, chronic active, lymphoid, plasma cell, or autoimmune chronic active hepatitis) is the most common type of autoimmune hepatitis. Type 1 autoimmune hepatitis is characterized by the presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA), antibodies against smooth muscle fibers (ASMA), and p-ANCA antibodies. Type 2 autoimmune hepatitis is characterized by the presence of liver/kidney microsomal antibodies (LKM-1) and antibodies against the cytoplasmic hepatic antigen (LC-1).
Autoantibodies against the soluble liver antigen (anti-SLA) show a high specificity (approximately 99%) for autoimmune hepatitis but are detectable only in 10 to 30% of patients with the disease. Soluble liver antigen (SLA) is a 50 kD cytoplasmic protein. Anti-SLA antibodies are also described as anti-LP (Liver-Pancreas) and are identical. Patients with positive anti-SLA / LP antibodies have a higher relapse rate after corticosteroid therapy than seronegative patients. Recent studies show that patients with anti-SLA / LP antibodies have a more serious course of autoimmune hepatitis, although the precise function and role of these autoantibodies remain unclear.
The absence of soluble liver/pancreas antigen (SLA / LP) antibodies does not exclude the existence of autoimmune hepatitis.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.