Children with autoimmune chronic active hepatitis may have high titers of antibodies detected by immunofluorescence staining of hepatocytes and tubular cells in rat liver and kidney sections, respectively. These antibodies are directed against antigens contained in microsomal fractions prepared from these two organs. We have found that sera from these patients recognized a 50,000 mol wt protein present in higher concentration in smooth microsome subfractions compared with rough microsome subfractions. This protein is an integral membrane protein and is not glycosylated. It is exposed on the cytoplasmic face of the endoplasmic reticulum and is rather resistant to proteolysis with proteinase K. Since patients with liver disease of different etiology and similar severity of cell lysis do not give rise to liver-kidney microsome antibody (LKMA), lysis of hepatocytes is apparently not a sufficient condition for their development.

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