The antigen reacting with complement-fixing antibodies in the sera of patients with primary biliary cirrhosis was localized predominantly in the mitochondrial fraction of tissue homogenates obtained by differential centrifugation. Purified mitochondrial preparations had a high content of the antigen whereas purified lysosomes failed to fix complement with PBC sera. Analysis of a number of fractionation experiments showed a high correlation between antigen content and the mitochondrial enzyme succinic dehydrogenase in all fractions. There was much poorer correlation with lysosomal and micrososomal enzyme markers. The patterns of staining obtained with a fluorescein conjugate of IgG from a PBC patient closely paralleled those obtained with a histochemical method for the demonstration of succinic dehydrogenase, further confirming the mitochondrial localization of the antigen. Staining was brightest in cells containing mitochondria with well-developed cristae. Studies on mitochondria fragmented by osmotic lysis, hexane, lysolecithin, and ultrasound suggest that the antigen is associated with the mitochondrial inner membranes.

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