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Asialoglycoprotein Receptor (ASPGR) Antibodies

The Anti-ASGPR (asialoglycoprotein receptor) is intended as an aid in the diagnosis of systemic liver autoimmune disorders in conjunction with other clinical and laboratory findings.

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ASGPR (ASialoGlycoProtein Receptor) is a liver-specific membrane receptor playing a pivotal role in the endocytosis of glycoproteins from the blood. Induction of humoral and cellular immune mechanisms to the ASGPR has been observed during inflammatory liver disorders, especially autoimmune hepatitis. The level of ASGPR autoantibodies correlates with the severity of the disease and declines under therapy. The group of primary autoimmune liver diseases comprises autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC).

Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic inflammation of the liver with a yet unknown etiology. It comprises mild clinical forms as well as severe progressive hepatitis with lethal outcomes. Females are more frequently affected. Clinical signs of the disease can occur as early as in their twenties. Patients suffering from AIH show a variety of autoantibodies. Due to the appearance of different antibody specificities classification of AIH into different subgroups is discussed. Type I is characterized by the occurrence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and antibodies to smooth muscles (ASMA). For type II a high prevalence of antibodies to liver and kidney microsomal antigens (LKM) has been described. LC1 antibodies are specific for type II hepatitis, too. Patients with type III autoimmune hepatitis exhibit antibodies to the soluble liver antigen (SLA).

ASGPR autoantibodies can be detected in sera of up to 76% of patients suffering from AIH. However, patients with viral hepatitis may develop ASPGR autoantibodies, too. Therefore, a viral genesis of the liver disorder should be excluded.

Determination of autoantibodies to ASGPR supports the follow-up and the differential diagnosis of toxic and other chronic inflammatory liver disorders.

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