, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 207-215

Chronic hepatitis induced by alcohol

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Fifteen heavy drinkers with the histological features of chronic hepatitis were studied. Chronic hepatitis observed in heavy drinkers can be divided into two categories. One is caused by alcohol, and the other is not etiologically related to alcohol. Chronic hepatitis caused by alcohol showed a definite improvement of clinical features following abstinence, as well as significantly high serum GOT/GPT ratios and high glutamate dehydrogenase activities on admission. These clinical features are distinctly different from chronic hepatitis without etiological relation to alcohol and resemble the other types of alcoholic liver injury. The leukocyte migration inhibition test by ethanol was more frequently positive in chronic hepatitis induced by alcohol than in the other types of alcoholic liver injury except for alcoholic hepatitis. Histological characteristics of the liver in chronic hepatitis induced by alcohol included the coexistence of features of both chronic hepatitis and alcoholic fibrosis. Three of four cases of chronic hepatitis induced by alcohol developed cirrhosis during the follow-up period. These results suggest that chronic hepatitis induced by alcohol is a type of alcoholic liver disease with an immunopathological etiology. It is a step toward the development of liver cirrhosis.