Papers And Originals

Cell-mediated Immunity to Human Tamm-Horsfall Glycoprotein in Autoimmune Liver Disease with Renal Tubular Acidosis

Br Med J 1974; 4 doi: (Published 30 November 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;4:491
  1. D. C. Tsantoulas,
  2. I. G. McFarlane,
  3. B. Portmann,
  4. A. L. W. F. Eddleston,
  5. Roger Williams


    Cell-mediated immune responses to Tamm-Horsfall glycoprotein isolated from human urine were investigated using the leucocyte migration test. Abnormal responses were found in 91% of patients with active chronic hepatitis or primary biliary cirrhosis with an associated renal tubular acidosis (R.T.A.) but in only 19% of those without R.T.A. In nearly all of a group of patients without autoimmune liver disease and in a control group of normal subjects results were within normal limits. In addition, using an immunofluorescent technique with rabbit antibody to human Tamm-Horsfall glycoprotein, it was possible to show the presence in human liver cell membrane of material reacting immunologically as Tamm-Horsfall. These findings suggest that the development of an immune response to this glycoprotein, initiated by release of cross-reacting antigens from damaged hepatocytes, could be the mechanism underlying the occurrence of R.T.A. in some patients with autoimmune liver disease.