Author(s): Corpechot C, Chazouillres O
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Abstract Autoimmune hepatitis is a disorder of unknown aetiology that occurs in children and adults of all ages with a female predominance. The spectrum of presentation is wide, ranging from no symptoms to acute liver failure. The diagnosis is based on high level serum gammaglobulins, characteristic circulating autoantibodies and histologic abnormalities (necrosis and inflammation). Autoimmune hepatitis is classified on the basis of the autoantibody pattern: type 1 (antinuclear and/or smooth muscle antibodies) is the classic form whereas type II (liver-kidney microsome 1 antibody) is much less common and occurs mainly in childhood. Mixed forms of autoimmune hepatitis that share features with other putative autoimmune liver diseases, primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis, have been described. Because of therapeutic issues, it is important to distinguish autoimmune hepatitis from other forms of hepatitis and the use of diagnostic scoring systems may be helpful. The treatment of autoimmune hepatitis has not changed for the past 30 years. It consists of corticosteroids associated with azathioprine. This treatment is rapidly effective but usually only suspensive. Relapse after treatment withdrawal is the rule (80\% of cases). The main risk factor of recurrence is the degree of residual inflammation on liver biopsy. The frequency of side effects justifies an attempt of drug discontinuation provided that criteria of clinical, biochemical and histological remission are achieved after at least 2 years of treatment. Copyright © 2010 Société nationale française de médecine interne (SNFMI). Published by Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Rev Med Interne
and referenced in JBR Journal of Clinical Diagnosis and Research