1. Anti-liver-specific protein (LSP) antibody and liver membrane autoantibody (LMA) have been evaluated in 88 patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV)-induced chronic liver disease by means of radioimmunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence. Among our patients, 38 presented circulating HBe antigen while 43 had HBe antibody and seven were negative for both.
2. Anti-LSP was mainly found in HBeAg positive chronic active hepatitis (CAH), anti-HBe in positive CAH and in anti-HBe positive chronic persistent hepatitis (CPH).
3. Similar prevalences of LMA (range 13-33%) were detected in the various groups studied.
4. Taking into account the histological diagnosis of disease activity (periportal inflammation and piecemeal necrosis) no significant differences were found between active and inactive patients.
5. Taking into account the HBeAg/anti-HBe status, no significant differences were found between the patients positive for ‘e’ antigen or ‘e’ antibody.
6. Humoral autoimmune reactions may also play a role in HBV-induced chronic (active) liver disease irrespective of HBeAg/anti-HBe status and hence of the viral replication activity of the patients.