Aetiological factors in immune-mediated liver disease

  • A. L. W. F. Eddleston


Immunological reactions have long been thought to be of importance in the pathogenesis of two main types of chronic liver disease, namely chronic active hepatitis and primary biliary cirrhosis. More recently, however, there has been an increasing awareness of the involvement of immune responses in the production of acute liver injury induced by viruses or drugs. This, in turn, has focused attention on the possible aetiological role of these agents in chronic liver disease. Although the hepatitis B virus appears to play no part in the development of primary biliary cirrhosis there is now considerable evidence to suggest that it may be a common aetiological agent in chronic active hepatitis. The discovery of the hepatitis B antigen greatly facilitated progress in this area. Using sensitive techniques for detecting both the viral product itself and immune responses to it, important links have been established between acute hepatitis and chronic active hepatitis and it is now possible to sketch the outlines of the complex cellular and humoral interactions which determine the clinical expression of hepatitis B virus infection.


Chronic Liver Disease Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Acute Hepatitis Chronic Active Hepatitis Aetiological Factor 
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  • A. L. W. F. Eddleston

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