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Up to now, few data are available regarding the clinical characteristics of autoimmune hepatitis and primary biliary cirrhosis overlap syndrome. The study was to investigate and analyze the prevalent and clinical features of Chinese patients with this disease.
Clinical data on patients diagnosed as autoimmune hepatitis and primary biliary cirrhosis overlap syndrome in our hospital from January 2001 to December 2006 were collected and analyzed.
Overlap syndrome of autoimmune hepatitis and primary biliary cirrhosis accounted for 10.33% of patients with autoimmune liver diseases during the past six years. For these patients with overlap syndrome, xanthochromia, lethargy and anorexia were the predominant complaints; a low incidence (14/146) of smooth muscle antibody positivity and a high incidence (37/89) of isolated IgM elevation were the main serological characteristics.
Overlap syndrome of autoimmune hepatitis and primary biliary cirrhosis was not rare in Chinese patients with clinical manifests of autoimmune liver diseases. Overlap of the diseases should not be disregarded when isolated IgM elevation was exhibited, and smooth muscle antibody might have little diagnostic significance in the overlap syndrome. If it was difficult to make a definite diagnosis, liver biopsy was necessary.