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Sci China Life Sci. 2013 Mar;56(3):246-53. doi: 10.1007/s11427-013-4450-z. Epub 2013 Mar 23.

Autoimmune pancreatitis: current concepts.

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Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Key Laboratory of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Ministry of Education, Beijing 100730, China.


Autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) is a distinct type of chronic pancreatitis with unique clinical, pathological, serological, and imaging features. AIP usually presents with obstructive jaundice. Imaging studies often reveal enlargement of the pancreas with a pancreatic mass and strictures of the main pancreatic duct. Two subtypes of AIP have recently been identified. Type I AIP is more prevalent in elderly Asian males and is characterized by lymphoplasmacytic sclerosing pancreatitis, obliterative phlebitis, and infiltration of large numbers of IgG4-positive plasma cells. Type II AIP is more prevalent in Caucasians and is characterized by granulocyte epithelial lesions. Most patients with type I AIP have a significantly elevated serum IgG4 concentration, which is an important feature for diagnosis and for differentiating between AIP and other conditions such as pancreatic cancer. Extrapancreatic complications are common, such as sclerosing cholangitis, sclerosing sialadenitis, retroperitoneal fibrosis in type I AIP, and ulcerative colitis in type II AIP. A rapid response to glucocorticoids treatment is suggestive of AIP, but the relapse rate is high, warranting the use of immunosuppressant treatment. B-cell depletion with rituximab may be a promising therapy. The prognosis of AIP is generally benign if treated promptly, and spontaneous remission occurs in a proportion of patients.

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