After liver transplantation for HCV-related cirrhosis, persistent HCV infection can cause severe graft damage, and such damage is more frequent in patients infected with HCV genotype 1b than with other genotypes. After five years, the rates of graft and overall survival are similar between patients with and those without HCV infection.
Long-term follow-up of 27 patients with hepatitis B virus-related chronic liver disease treated by transplantation showed that 23 had hepatitis B virus recurrence. In 13 patients late changes in the grafts were similar to those described in other series: minor abnormalities in five cases, chronic active hepatitis in five cases and non-hepatitis B virus-related graft dysfunction in three cases. Three patients had incomplete histological follow-up. Analysis of the histological changes and viral antigen expression in six cases revealed a distinct and novel pattern termed fibrosing cholestatic hepatitis. Development of fibrosing cholestatic hepatitis was associated with rapidly progressive graft dysfunction. It is postulated that this pattern of fibrosing cholestatic hepatitis develops because of a high cytoplasmic expression of viral antigens, including HBsAg. The remaining case had some features of fibrosing cholestatic hepatitis. The main histological features of this unique syndrome include thin, perisinusoidal bands of fibrosis extending from portal tracts to surround plates of ductular-type epithelium; prominent cholestasis; ground-glass transformation; and ballooning of hepatocytes with cell loss and mild mixed inflammatory reaction.
Susceptibility to autoimmune hepatitis in white patients is associated with the human leukocyte antigen class II antigens DR3 and DR4. To analyze the molecular basis of these associations, we used oligonucleotide probes to determine the DRB, DQA and DQB hypervariable nucleotide sequences in 119 patients with autoimmune hepatitis and 177 matched controls. DRB3*0101, which encodes DR52a, predisposed patients most strongly to the disease. It was present in 58% of patients and 25% of controls (corrected P < 0.000005), whereas DQA1*0101 and 0102 conferred protection in males only. The DR4 subtype, DRB1*0401, was raised in the DRB3*0101-negative patients; 81% possessed either DRB3*0101 or DRB1*0401, compared with 42% of controls (corrected P < 0.0000001). These alleles encode the amino acid sequence Leu-Leu-Glu-Gln-Lys-Arg at positions 67 to 72 of the DR beta polypeptide, which was present in 94% of patients and 64% of controls (corrected P < 0.000001) and in all patients who tested positive for autoantibodies to the hepatic asialoglycoprotein receptor. The patients with DRB1*0401 had less severe disease, relapsed less frequently and were first seen significantly later in life than those patients with DRB3*0101; and whereas a single copy of DRB1*0401 predisposed to autoimmune hepatitis, DRB3*0101-associated susceptibility had a dose-related effect. These data provide evidence that specific residues in the DR beta polypeptides predispose to autoimmune hepatitis in white patients and genes linked to DRB3*0101 and DRB1*0401 may determine two clinically distinct disease patterns.
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