Autoimmune hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that occurs when immune cells mistake the liver’s normal cells for harmful invaders and attack them.
Lupoid hepatitis; Chronic acute liver disease
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
This form of hepatitis is an
Liver inflammation, or hepatitis may occur along with other autoimmune diseases, including:
Inflammatory bowel disease
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Type 1 diabetes
Autoimmune hepatitis sometimes occurs in relatives of people with autoimmune diseases. This suggests that there may be a genetic cause.
This disease is most common in young girls and women.
Abdominal distention Dark urine Fatigue
- General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (
malaise) Itching Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
Pale or clay-colored stools
Other symptoms that may occur with this disease include absence of menstruation (amenorrhea).
Signs and tests
Tests for autoimmune hepatitis include:
microsome type 1 antibody(anti LKM-1)
Anti-nuclear antibody (
- Anti-smooth muscle antibody (SMA)
- Serum IgG
- Liver function tests
- Liver biopsy to look for chronic hepatitis
You may need prednisone or other corticosteroid medicines help reduce the inflammation. Azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine are drugs used to treat other autoimmune disorders. They have been shown to help people with autoimmune hepatitis, as well.
Some people may need a liver transplant.
The outcome varies. Corticosteroid medicines may slow the progress of the disease. However, autoimmune hepatitis may advance to cirrhosis. This would require a liver transplant.
- Side effects from steroids and other medicines
- Liver failure
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you notice symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis.
Autoimmune hepatitis is usually cannot be prevented. Knowing the risk factors may allow early detection and treatment.