Autoimmune hepatitis: an approach to disease understanding and management

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Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic immune-mediated liver injury, frequently associated with progression to end-stage liver disease if untreated. Patients commonly present with hepatitis, positive immune serology, elevated immunoglobulins and compatible liver histology, in the absence of an alternative aetiology.

Sources of data

Data for this review were obtained using PubMed.

Areas of agreement

Disease usually responds to steroids and azathioprine, and appears to be a manifestation of autoimmune predisposition triggered in genetically susceptible individuals exposed to likely environmental challenges. We provide an up-to-date approach to disease understanding and management along with the clinical approach to diagnosis and current treatment suggestions.

Areas of controversy

Controversies such as second line therapies and novel markers of disease activity are introduced.

Growing points

Increased understanding of the immunoregulatory mechanisms behind autoimmune hepatitis has led to opportunities for new therapies. These are developed including a discussion of timely research studies relevant to future therapies for patients.

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