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Am J Gastroenterol. 2002 Dec;97(12):3160-5.

Improvement of autoimmune hepatitis during pregnancy followed by flare-up after delivery.

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Divison of Hepatobiliary and Pancreas Diseases, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium.



Pregnancy in autoimmune hepatitis has been a rare event, but it has become more frequent with improved therapy. The present study aimed to analyze the consequences for mother and child in patients with autoimmune hepatitis.


Fourteen pregnancies have been followed in five patients with autoimmune chronic hepatitis (AIH) and in one with autoimmune sclerosing cholangitis (overlap AIH-PSC).


Features of AIH improved markedly from the second trimester of pregnancy onward, allowing a decrease in immunosuppressive therapy. After delivery (or stillbirth in one patient), the activity of the autoimmune disease flared up rapidly in 12 of 14 events.


Pregnancy induces a state of immune tolerance with improvement of the liver tests in AIH. This could result from a transition of TH1 to TH2 predominance during pregnancy. A flare-up often occurs after delivery. Preemptive increase of the immunosuppressive therapy is therefore advocated consecutive to delivery. Azathioprine use seems to be safe during pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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