Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

pp 818-821

Hepatitis, Granulomatous

  • Frank LammertAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine I, University Hospital Bonn
  • , Johann LorenzenAffiliated withInstitute of Pathology, Clinic of Dortmund gGmbH


Hepatic (epitheloid cell) granulomas

Definitions and Characteristics

Granulomatous hepatitis is a chronic exudative and proliferative inflammatory reaction of liver tissue that occurs in association with infections, systemic diseases or drugs and is characterized by nodular inflammatory infiltrates (granulomas) composed of macrophages, epitheloid cells, lymphocytes, and fibroblasts. A granuloma is a focal accumulation of epitheloid cells, which are transformed macrophages [1].


0.7–15% of all liver biopsies contain hepatic granulomas [2], but in many cases they are not accompanied by hepatitis, and no specific disease is detected during the course of further investigations.


There is substantial evidence from epidemiological and twin studies that host genetic factors are important in determining susceptibility to infections with Mycobacteria and the subsequent development of granulomas. Case-control (association) st ...

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