Serum amyloid A immunohistochemical staining patterns in hepatitis
Piotti KC., Yantiss RK., Chen Z., Jessurun J.
Aims: Serum amyloid A is an acute phase reactant that is produced by hepatocytes in response to either inflammatory or neoplastic conditions. Because inflammatory adenomas produce this protein, serum amyloid A immunohistochemistry has been used in the evaluation of hepatocellular neoplasms. However, studies evaluating the expression of this protein in hepatitis are lacking. The aim of this study was to perform serum amyloid A immunostains on medical liver biopsy specimens of patients with common chronic liver diseases and correlate them with disease activity and stage. Methods and results: We performed serum amyloid A immunostains on 160 medical liver biopsies, including 100 cases of hepatitis C virus infection at different stages (20 cases of each) and 20 cases each of hepatitis B viral infection, steatohepatitis and autoimmune hepatitis. The extent and location of staining was recorded and correlated with grade, stage and laboratory values (transaminases, bilirubin and viral load). Data were analysed using the Cochran–Mantel–Haenszel χ2 test for trend. Serum amyloid A staining was present in 130 (81%) cases and was limited to zone 3 perivenular hepatocytes in 66 (41%). Biopsy specimens with less fibrosis and/or mild portal inflammation showed significantly more staining than those with cirrhosis (P < 0.001), or at least moderate inflammatory activity (P < 0.001). There was no significant association between lobular inflammation (P = 0.06), bilirubin levels or viral load and immunohistochemical staining for serum amyloid A. Conclusions: Our results show that liver biopsy specimens with mildly active chronic hepatitis, early fibrosis and normal serum transaminases show more serum amyloid A immunopositivity compared with cases with more inflammatory activity, fibrosis or transaminitis. These findings indicate that serum amyloid A is expressed primarily in the early phases of disease and might influence progression and/or response to treatment.