The anti-LKM-1 test may be ordered when a health practitioner is investigating an individual's liver disease and wants to distinguish between different causes of liver injury. It may be ordered along with other testing, such as an SMA and ANA test. These tests are usually ordered when a person presents with symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and jaundice and has abnormal findings on routine liver tests.
A high amount or titer of anti-LKM-1 indicates that it is likely that the person tested has type 2 autoimmune hepatitis, but the result is not definitive. A liver biopsy may be performed to evaluate liver tissue for damage and scarring to help confirm the diagnosis.
If the anti-LKM-1 test is negative, but SMA and/or ANA are positive, then the person likely has type 1 autoimmune hepatitis.
If both are negative, then the person's symptoms are likely due to a cause other than autoimmune hepatitis. However, the condition is not entirely ruled out. Not all people with autoimmune hepatitis will produce anti-LKM-1 or SMA antibodies; some people produce other autoantibodies that are rarely tested.
People with chronic hepatitis C may sometimes develop a different type of anti-LKM-1 antibody. This type of antibody is not detected with the usual anti-LKM-1 test methods and is not typically tested for.
The ANA test is often performed along with an SMA test. It is a marker of an autoimmune process and is associated with several autoimmune disorders, including type 1 autoimmune hepatitis.
This article was last reviewed on September 26, 2013. | This article was last modified on May 13, 2015.
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