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Semin Liver Dis. 2009 Aug;29(3):262-72. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1233536. Epub 2009 Aug 12.

New animal models for autoimmune hepatitis.

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  • 1Clinic of the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Pharmazentrum Frankfurt/ZAFES, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is often diagnosed late in the disease course and usually requires lifelong immunosuppressive therapy. Unfortunately, the etiology of the disease and the mechanisms leading to the autoimmune destruction of the liver parenchyma are only poorly understood. For a long time, one reason for this lack of apprehension was the absence of reliable animal models with a chronic immune response against liver tissues. Initial attempts to break tolerance against hepatocytes usually just resulted in mild, transient hepatitis flares. Recently, however, some approaches have been made to establish models of chronic AIH that reflect the immunopathogenic mechanisms seen in humans. In this article, we reflect on recent models, focusing on their feasibility and chances for success in providing a platform for studying the mechanisms of autoimmune liver destruction and the development of possible therapeutic interventions.

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