Autoimmune hepatitis occurs when the body's immune system, which ordinarily attacks viruses, bacteria and other pathogens, instead targets the liver. This attack on your liver can lead to chronic inflammation and serious damage to liver cells. Just why the body turns against itself is unclear, but researchers think autoimmune hepatitis could be caused by an interaction between several risk factors, such as infections, medications and a genetic predisposition.
Types of autoimmune hepatitis
Doctors have identified two main forms of autoimmune hepatitis:
April 18, 2012
- Type 1 (classic) autoimmune hepatitis. This is the most common type of the disease. It can occur at any age. About half the people with type 1 autoimmune hepatitis have other autoimmune disorders, such as thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis or ulcerative colitis.
- Type 2 autoimmune hepatitis. Although adults can develop type 2 autoimmune hepatitis, it's most common in young girls and often occurs with other autoimmune problems.
- Czaja AJ, et al. Advances in the diagnosis, pathogenesis, and management of autoimmune hepatitis. Gastroenterology. 2010;139:58.
- Krawitt EL. Pathogenesis of autoimmune hepatitis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Feb. 9, 2012.
- Manns MP, et al. Diagnosis and management of autoimmune hepatitis. Hepatology. 2010;51:1.
- Autoimmune hepatitis. National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/autoimmunehep/. Accessed Feb. 9, 2012.
- McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2012. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Feb. 16, 2012.
- Luxon BA. Diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune hepatitis. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America. 2008;37:461.
- Mieli-Vergani G, et al. Autoimmune hepatitis. Nature Reviews. Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2011;8:320.
- Greenberger NJ, et al, eds. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Gastroenterology, Hepatology, & Endoscopy. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=6204532. Accessed Feb. 16, 2012.
- Teufel A, et al. Concurrent autoimmune diseases in patients with autoimmune hepatitis. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 2010;44:208.