, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 421-435
Date: 17 Jun 2009

Autoimmune hepatitis

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Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is an inflammatory liver disease affecting mainly females and characterised histologically by interface hepatitis, biochemically by elevated transaminase levels and serologically by the presence of autoantibodies and increased levels of immunoglobulin G. AIH responds to immunosuppressive treatment, which should be instituted as soon as diagnosis is made. Seropositivity for smooth muscle and/or anti-nuclear antibody defines type 1 AIH, while positivity for liver kidney microsomal type 1 antibody defines type 2 AIH. The aetiology of AIH is unknown, though both genetic and environmental factors are involved in its expression. Immune reactions against host liver antigens are believed to be the major mechanism of liver damage.