Background: Alpha-1-antitrypsin (A1AT) deficiency is the most common inherited metabolic disorder with the potential to cause injury in the lung and liver. Recent reports suggested that alpha-1-antichymotrypsin (A1AC) deficiency may also be a possible cause of chronic liver disease. However, it has received little attention and is rarely investigated in the clinical setting. Aims: To assess the role of A1AC deficiency in the pathogenesis of chronic liver disease in two siblings with heterozygous A1AT phenotype Pi SZ. Patients: Two adult siblings with an A1AT Pi SZ phenotype and reduced levels of A1AC consistent with heterozygosity who developed cirrhosis and underwent liver transplantation. Methods and results: A1AT and A1AC levels in plasma measured by electroimmunoassay were 74 mg/dl and 90 mg/dl (140-470) and 0.12 mg/ml and 0.14 mg/ml (0.173-0.46), respectively. Immunohistochemistry revealed an apparent accumulation of both A1AT and A1AC in hepatocytes. A previously reported point mutation in exon III (Pro229 to Ala substitution) of the A1AC gene was not detected by polymerase chain reaction amplification and a single strand conformation polymorphism analysis. Conclusions: Our report represents the first case of two siblings with A1CA phenotype Pi SZ who developed cirrhosis and underwent liver transplantation. Both siblings were heterozygous for A1AT and A1AC deficiency suggesting that combined deficiency of these two major serine protease inhibitors may enhance the risk of developing liver disease.
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