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Ann Hepatol. 2005 Jan-Mar;4(1):6-24.

Current concepts in autoimmune hepatitis.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


Autoimmune hepatitis has a global occurrence, diverse clinical phenotype, and evolving treatment options. The goals of this report are to review the codified diagnostic criteria, spectrum of clinical presentations, proposed pathogenic mechanisms, conventional treatment strategies, and promising interventions. The literature published in English from 1980-2005 was reviewed and an updated current perspective provided. Autoimmune hepatitis affects all ages, may be asymptomatic, frequently has an acute onset, and can present as fulminant hepatitis. Perivenular (zone 3) necrosis is within the histological spectrum. Autoimmune hepatitis can recur or develop de novo after liver transplantation. CD4+ T-helper cells and natural killer T cells have been implicated in the pathogenesis, and molecular mimicry may break self-tolerance. DRB1*0301 and DRB1*0401 are the susceptibility alleles among white North Americans and northern Europeans, whereas diverse alleles of HLA DR4 have been associated with the disease in Japan, mainland China, and Mexico. DRB1*1301 is associated with autoimmune hepatitis in South American children, and it may predispose to an indigenous etiologic agent. Antibodies to soluble liver antigen/liver pancreas may have prognostic importance, and cyclosporine and mycophenolate mofetil must be assessed by clinical trial before incorporation into management algorithms. Site-specific interventions are feasible, and they require a confident experimental animal model for evaluation. Variant syndromes lack diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines. In conclusion, autoimmune hepatitis must be considered in all patients with acute and chronic liver disease and those with allograft dysfunction after transplantation. New immunosuppressive agents and site-specific interventions promise to improve care.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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