1. Should everyone with liver damage be tested for liver kidney microsome type 1 antibodies (anti-LKM-1)?
This is not usually necessary. Most cases of hepatitis will be due to another identifiable cause. However, if the person with symptoms is a young girl without other risk factors, and/or the doctor suspects an autoimmune process, then anti-LKM-1, ANA, and SMA testing may be performed.
Yes. For instance, autoimmune hepatitis can co-exist with a viral hepatitis, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C, and can become worse with liver damage caused by alcohol abuse. Since the treatment of hepatitis depends on the cause, it is very important that your doctor understand the underlying cause(s) of your condition.
The course and severity of autoimmune hepatitis is hard to predict. It may be acute or chronic. Some people will have no or few symptoms for many years and are diagnosed when routine liver tests are abnormal. Those with type 2 autoimmune hepatitis often have a more severe case, but it is usually manageable with proper treatment. Appropriate treatment is important to limit liver damage. For more information, consult with your healthcare provider and see the related links.
5. If this antibody targets CYP450 2D6, why is it called anti-liver kidney microsome-1 (anti-LKM-1)?
This antibody was originally detected using tissue from the liver and kidney, hence the name anti-LKM-1. However, the specific protein in those tissues that the antibody targets (the major antigen) has since been identified as cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6). This protein is a major enzyme that metabolizes about 25% of drugs as well as toxic substances. It is primarily found in cells of the liver and kidney, mainly within structures called microsomes.
This article was last reviewed on September 26, 2013. | This article was last modified on May 13, 2015.
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