Autoimmune hepatitis

Information about Autoimmune hepatitis

Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a rare condition and caused by the body’s immune system attacking the liver. It can affect all age groups, all ethnic groups and all geographical regions though there is a predominance in females. AIH affects females 4 times as often as males. 

Autoimmune hepatitis was previously called lupoid hepatitis, as most patients had systemic lupus erythematosus, and also chronic active hepatitis (CAH). 

DID YOU KNOW That people with other autoimmune conditions have a 25-50% chance of developing another one and thus a higher risk for developing AIH. 


Initial symptoms may include fatigue, muscle aches, fever, abdomen pain and jaunice (yellowing of skin and the whites of the eyes). Other symptoms may include weight loss and pain in the small joints of fingers. It is often seen in people with other autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease or autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimto's), primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis.
liver diagram

Diagnosis of Autoimmune hepatitis will include a blood tests for autoantibodies to help distinguish autoimmune hepatitis from other liver diseases that have similar symptoms, such as viral hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, steatohepatitis, or Wilson disease.

Treatment of AIH is usually with corticosteroids and then other immunosuppressive agents.

Points to Remember from NIH

  • Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic—or long lasting—disease in which the body's immune system attacks the liver and causes inflammation and damage.
  • Autoimmune hepatitis is a serious condition that may worsen over time if not treated. Autoimmune hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure.
  • Autoimmune hepatitis is more common in females. The disease can occur at any age and affects all ethnic groups.
  • Autoimmune hepatitis is classified as type 1 or type 2.
  • A health care provider will make a diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis based on symptoms, a physical exam, blood tests, and a liver biopsy.
  • A person usually needs blood tests for an exact diagnosis because a person with autoimmune hepatitis can have the same symptoms as those of other liver diseases or metabolic disorders.
  • Treatment for autoimmune hepatitis includes medication to suppress, or slow down, an overactive immune system.
  • Treatment works best when autoimmune hepatitis is diagnosed early.
  • People with autoimmune hepatitis generally respond to standard treatment and the disease can be controlled in most cases.
  • In some people, autoimmune hepatitis progresses to cirrhosis and end-stage liver failure, and a liver transplant may be necessary.

 clinical practice to future research agenda

13th July 2017: Association of autoimmune hepatitis with Src homology 2 adaptor protein 3 gene polymorphisms in Japanese patients
Takeji Umemura, Satoru Joshita, Hideaki Hamano, Kaname Yoshizawa, Shigeyuki Kawa, Eiji Tanaka and Masao Ota
Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a chronic inflammatory liver disease characterized by an autoimmune reaction to hepatocytes. Read more

May 2017: Autoimmune hepatitis: review of histologic features included in the simplified criteria proposed by the international autoimmune hepatitis group and proposal for new histologic criteria
Dana Balitzer, Nafis Shafizadeh, Marion G Peters, Linda D Ferrell, Najeeb Alshak and Sanjay Kakar
Simplified criteria for diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis are based on autoantibodies, serum immunoglobulin G, histologic features, and negative viral serology. Read more

22nd April 2017: Immunoserological and histological differences between autoimmune hepatitis with acute presentation and chronic autoimmune hepatitis
Kazufumi Dohmen, Hirofumi Tanaka, Masatora Haruno, Shinichi Aishima
The histological features of clinically chronic autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) have been well established, with interface hepatitis and plasma cell infiltration as hallmark lesions, however, the immunoserological and histological features of recent-onset and acute AIH remain undefined. Read on

2017: Recurrent Autoimmune Liver Diseases After Liver Transplantation
A. J. Montano-Loza; R. A. Bhanji; S. Wasilenko; A. L. Mason
Indications for liver transplantation (LT) in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) Read more at Medscape

31st August 2016: Autoimmune hepatitis: current challenges and future prospects
Aizawa Y, Hokari A
Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a chronic progressive liver disease characterized by high levels of aminotransferases and autoantibodies, hypergammaglobulinemia, and interface hepatitis. Read more

Curing Courtney: Doctors Couldn't Save Her...So Her Mom Did the empowering true story of a mother and daughter’s triumph over the deadly autoimmune hepatitis that threatened to take the life of 7-year-old Courtney. 

Resilience: A story of surviving serious medical conditions and living life to the fullest by Dr. Patricia Scott who was diagnosed at 28 with an autoimmune liver disease. This diagnosis would forever change life as she knew it.

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