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AMA

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Also known as: Mitochondrial Antibody
Formal name: Antimitochondrial Antibody and Antimitochondrial M2 Antibody

At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

When to Get Tested?

When you have abnormal results on a liver panel and/or symptoms that your health care practitioner suspects may be due to PBC

Sample Required?

A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm

Test Preparation Needed?

None

The Test Sample

What is being tested?

Antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA) are autoantibodies that are strongly associated with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). This test detects and measures the amount (titer) of AMA in the blood.

Primary biliary cirrhosis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts inside the liver. It is a slow-progressing disease that causes worsening liver destruction and blockage of the bile flow. Blocked bile ducts can lead to a build-up of harmful substances within the liver and may eventually lead to permanent scarring (cirrhosis). PBC is found most frequently in women between the ages of 35 and 60. About 90-95% of those affected by PBC will have significant titers of antimitochondrial antibodies.

AMA are autoantibodies that develop against antigens within the body. There are nine types of AMA antigens (M1 – M9) of which M2 and M9 are the most clinically significant. The presence of the M2 type of AMA has been particularly evident in PBC, while the other types may be found in other conditions. Some laboratories offer the AMA-M2 as a more specific test for PBC.

For more information on PBC, click on the Related Pages tab and see links listed under Elsewhere on the Web.

How is the sample collected for testing?

A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm.

NOTE: If undergoing medical tests makes you or someone you care for anxious, embarrassed, or even difficult to manage, you might consider reading one or more of the following articles: Coping with Test Pain, Discomfort, and Anxiety, Tips on Blood Testing, Tips to Help Children through Their Medical Tests, and Tips to Help the Elderly through Their Medical Tests.

Another article, Follow That Sample, provides a glimpse at the collection and processing of a blood sample and throat culture.

Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?

No test preparation is needed.

The Test

Common Questions

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Article Sources

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NOTE: This article is based on research that utilizes the sources cited here as well as the collective experience of the Lab Tests Online Editorial Review Board. This article is periodically reviewed by the Editorial Board and may be updated as a result of the review. Any new sources cited will be added to the list and distinguished from the original sources used.

Sources Used in Current Review

(Updated 2012 September 26). Antimitochondrial Antibody. Medscape Reference [On-line information]. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2086548-overview#showall through http://emedicine.medscape.com. Accessed February 2013.

Tebo, A. (Updated 2012 August). Primary Biliary Cirrhosis – PBC. ARUP Consult [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.arupconsult.com/Topics/PBC.html?client_ID=LTD#tabs=0 through http://www.arupconsult.com. Accessed February 2013.

(© 1995–2013). Mitochondrial Antibodies (M2), Serum. Mayo Clinic Mayo Medical Laboratories [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Overview/8176 through http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com. Accessed February 2013.

Makover, M. (Updeate 2011 February 10). Antimitochondrial antibody. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003529.htm. Accessed February 2013.

Pyrsopoulos, N. and Reddy, K. (Updated 2012 January 4). Primary Biliary Cirrhosis. Medscape Reference [On-line information]. Available online at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/171117-overview through http://emedicine.medscape.com. Accessed February 2013.

Dugdale, D. (Updated 2012 May 1). Primary biliary cirrhosis. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000282.htm. Accessed February 2013.

Shaffer, E. (Reviewed 2009 June) Laboratory Tests of the Liver and Gallbladder. Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals [On-line information]. Available online through http://www.merckmanuals.com. Accessed February 2013.

Pagana, K. D. & Pagana, T. J. (© 2011). Mosby's Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference 10th Edition: Mosby, Inc., Saint Louis, MO. Pp 87-88.

McPherson, R. and Pincus, M. (© 2011). Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods 22nd Edition: Elsevier Saunders, Philadelphia, PA. Pp 304.

Kasper DL, Braunwald E, Fauci AS, Hauser SL, Longo DL, Jameson JL eds, (2005). Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 16th Edition, McGraw Hill, Pp 1860-1861.

(April 30, 2012) National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Primary Biliary Cirrhosis. Available online at http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/primarybiliarycirrhosis/index.aspx through http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov. Accessed May 2013.

Sources Used in Previous Reviews

Thomas, Clayton L., Editor (1997). Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. F.A. Davis Company, Philadelphia, PA [18th Edition].

Pagana, Kathleen D. & Pagana, Timothy J. (2001). Mosby's Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference 5th Edition: Mosby, Inc., Saint Louis, MO. Pp 82-83.

Lindor, K. (© 2002-2003) What is Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC)? American Liver Foundation [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.liverfoundation.org/db/articles/1014 through http://www.liverfoundation.org.

(© 1995-2005). Primary Biliary Cirrhosis. The Merck Manual of Medical Information – Second Home Edition [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.merck.com/mmhe/print/sec10/ch136/ch136d.html through http://www.merck.com.

(© 1995-2005). Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. The Merck Manual of Medical Information – Second Home Edition [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec10/ch136/ch136e.html through http://www.merck.com.

(© 2005). Mitochondrial M2 Antibody, IgG (ELISA). ARUP's Guide to Clinical Laboratory Testing [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.arup-lab.com/guides/clt/tests/clt_a89b.jsp#1142095 through http://www.arup-lab.com.

Beuers, U. and Rust, C. (2005 October 27). Overlap Syndromes. Medscape, from Semin Liver Dis. 2005; 25(3): 311-320. [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/512463 through http://www.medscape.com.

Stone, C. (2004 November 10, Updated). Autoimmune liver disease panel. Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003328.htm.

Stone, C. (2004 May 14). Primary biliary cirrhosis. Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000282.htm.

Peng, S. (2005 April 20). Antimitochondrial antibody. Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003529.htm.

(© 2003). Mitochondrial (M2) Antibody. LabCorp [On-line test information]. Available online at http://www.labcorp.com/datasets/labcorp/html/chapter/mono/se000750.htm through http://www.labcorp.com.

Pagana, Kathleen D. & Pagana, Timothy J. (© 2007). Mosby's Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference 8th Edition: Mosby, Inc., Saint Louis, MO. Pp 85-86.

Clarke, W. and Dufour, D. R., Editors (© 2006). Contemporary Practice in Clinical Chemistry: AACC Press, Washington, DC. Pp 272.

Wu, A. (© 2006). Tietz Clinical Guide to Laboratory Tests, Fourth Edition: Saunders Elsevier, St. Louis, MO. Pp 746.

Dugdale, D. (Updated 2008 November 2). Autoimmune liver disease panel. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003328.htm. Accessed 1/29/09.

Christopher-Stine, L. (Updated 2006 August 22). Systemic lupus erythematosus. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000435.htm. Accessed 1/29/09.

Lehrer, J (2006 July 25 Updated). Autoimmune hepatitis. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000245.htm. Accessed 1/29/09.

Stone, C. (2008 May 20, Updated). Primary biliary cirrhosis. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000282.htm. Accessed 1/29/09.

Hill, H. (Updated 2008 September). Primary Biliary Cirrhosis. ARUP Consult [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.arupconsult.com/Topics/AutoimmuneDz/PBC.html# through http://www.arupconsult.com. Accessed 1/29/09.

Bylund DJ, Nakamura RM. Organ-specific autoimmune diseases. Henry’s Clinical Diagnosis and Laboratory Management, 21st ed., 2007. Pp 945-960.

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