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Autoimmune hepatitis

  • Definition

    Autoimmune hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that occurs when immune cells mistake the liver's normal cells for harmful invaders and attack them.

    Alternative Names

    Lupoid hepatitis; Chronic acute liver disease

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    In patients who have an autoimmune disease, the immune system can't tell the difference between healthy body tissue and harmful, outside substances. The result is an immune response that destroys normal body tissues.

    Liver inflammation, or hepatitis may occur along with other autoimmune diseases, including:

    • Graves disease
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Scleroderma
    • Sjogren syndrome
    • Systemic lupus erythematosus
    • Thyroiditis
    • Type 1 diabetes
    • Ulcerative colitis

    Autoimmune hepatitis sometimes occurs in relatives of people with autoimmune diseases, which suggests that there is a genetic cause.

    This disease is most common in young girls and women.