BACKGROUND: Type-2 autoimmune hepatitis is a subgroup of chronic hepatitis characterized by the presence of liver/kidney microsomal autoantibodies type 1 (LKM-1). A frequent association with chronic hepatitis C suggests that hepatitis virus might trigger autoimmune reactivity. LKM-1-positive chronic hepatitis is not uncommon in southern Europe but is rarely seen in the USA and the UK. The prevalence in Scandinavia is hitherto unknown. METHODS: We used an automated prototype LKM-1 immunometry-based assay (IMx) to detect LKM-1 antibodies in sera from 350 Swedish patients with chronic liver diseases (100 with primary biliary cirrhosis, 80 with primary sclerosing cholangitis, 100 with hepatitis C, and 70 patients with various forms of chronic hepatitis, including 36 autoimmune cases), and from 17 children with autoimmune hepatitis. Sera reactive in the IMx assay were subjected to immunofluorescence testing. RESULTS: No clearly LKM-reactive sera were detected. Serum samples from 29 patients were borderline reactive in the IMx assay but tested negative in the confirmatory immunofluorescence test. Positive tests in the former assay were likely caused by reactivity against microsomal antigens other than LKM-1/cytochrome P450IID6. CONCLUSIONS: LKM-1-positive type-2 autoimmune hepatitis is very rare in Sweden. Furthermore, chronic hepatitis C did not trigger this type of autoimmune reactivity in our patients, probably owing to genetic insusceptibility.