Biomarkers

What is Actin (Smooth muscle) antibody (IgG)? High and low values | Lab results explained

Actin (Smooth Muscle) Antibody (IgG)Actin is the major antigen to which smooth muscle antibodies react in autoimmune hepatitis.

F-Actin IGG antibodies are found in 52-85% of patients with Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH) or chronic active hepatitis and in 22% of patients with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC). Anti-Actin antibodies have been reported in 3-18% of sera from normal healthy controls.

What is AIH?

Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is caused by chronic inflammation within the liver, resulting in damage to the hepatocytes (=chief functional cells of the liver).

Symptoms and diagnosis?

Initially, patients with AIH may be clinically asymptomatic, usually identified only through an incidental finding of abnormal liver function tests.

At a more advanced stage, patients may manifest with symptoms such as jaundice, pruritus, or ascites, which are secondary to the more extensive liver damage.

As implied by the name, AIH has many characteristics of an autoimmune disease, including:

  • female predominance,
  • hypergammaglobulinemia,
  • association with specific HLA alleles,
  • responsiveness to immunosuppression,
  • and the presence of autoantibodies.

Because the clinical symptoms of AIH are nonspecific, being found in a variety of liver diseases (drug/alcohol-associated hepatitis, viral hepatitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, etc), the diagnosis can be challenging. A set of diagnostic criteria for AIH has been published, and includes the presence of various autoantibodies, elevated total IgG, evidence of hepatitis on liver histology, and absence of viral markers.

The combination of autoantibody serology, specifically anti-SMAs and anti-F-actin antibodies with liver histology, and thorough clinical evaluation are useful in the evaluation of patients with suspected autoimmune hepatitis.

What are autoantibodies associated with AIH?

There are several autoantibodies associated with AIH, although the most common is anti-smooth muscle antibody (anti-SMA). SMAs are generally identified by indirect immunofluorescence using a smooth muscle substrate. The antigen specificity of anti-SMAs in the context of AIH has been identified as filamentous-actin (F-actin).

Higher levels:

Suggestive of autoimmune hepatitis or chronic active hepatitis.

Serologic tests for autoantibodies, including anti-filamentous-actin (F-actin), should not be relied upon exclusively to determine the etiology or prognosis of patients with liver disease.

Lower levels:

A negative result for anti-F-actin antibodies does not exclude a diagnosis of AIH.

Serologic tests for autoantibodies, including anti-filamentous-actin (F-actin), should not be relied upon exclusively to determine the etiology or prognosis of patients with liver disease.

Disclaimer:

A negative result for anti-F-actin antibodies does not exclude a diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis (AIH).

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you. 

The information on healthmatters.io is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: