Autoimmune hepatitis

Autoimmune hepatitis involves inflammation of the liver caused by rogue immune cells that mistake the liver's normal cells for a foreign tissue or pathogen (disease-causing agent).

Alternative Names

Lupoid hepatitis

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

A person with autoimmune hepatitis has autoantibodies circulating in the bloodstream that cause the immune system to attack the liver. This disease is associated with other autoimmune diseases , including the following:

  • Thyroiditis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Proliferative
  • glomerulonephritis Autoimmune hepatitis sometimes occurs in relatives of people with autoimmune diseases, suggesting a genetic cause. This disease is most common in young girls and women.

    Signs and tests

  • Liver biopsy
  • showing chronic hepatitis
  • Abnormal
  • liver function tests Tests associated with autoimmune hepatitis:
  • Positive
  • ANA
  • Positive
  • anti-smooth muscle antibody
  • Positive anti-liver kidney
  • microsomal antibody
  • Positive anti-mitochondrial
  • antibody
  • Elevated
  • sedimentation rate
  • Elevated serum IgG
  • Treatment

    Prednisone or other corticosteroids help reduce the inflammation. Azathioprine or mercaptopurine are drugs used to treat other autoimmune disorders, and they have shown to benefit patients with autoimmune hepatitis as well. You should modify your activity level according to your symptoms.

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The outcome varies. Corticosteroid therapy may slow the disease progression. Autoimmune hepatitis can progress to cirrhosis and require liver transplant, however.


  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver cell failure
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Complications related to steroids and other medications
  • Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if you notice symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis.


    Autoimmune hepatitis is usually not preventable. Awareness of risk factors may allow early detection and treatment.

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