The aetiology of autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is uncertain but the disease can be triggered in susceptible patients by external factors such as viruses or drugs. AIH usually develops in individuals with a genetic background mainly consisting of some risk alleles of the major histocompatibility complex (HLA). Many drugs have been linked to AIH phenotypes, which sometimes persist after drug discontinuation, suggesting that they awaken latent autoimmunity. At least three clinical scenarios have been proposed that refers to drug- induced autoimmune liver disease (DIAILD): AIH with drug-induced liver injury (DILI); drug induced-AIH (DI-AIH); and immune mediated DILI (IM-DILI). In addition, there are instances showing mixed features of DI-AIH and IM-DILI, as well as DILI cases with positive autoantibodies. Histologically distinguishing DILI from AIH remains a challenge. Even more challenging is the differentiation of AIH from DI-AIH mainly relying in histological features; however, a detailed standardised histologic evaluation of large cohorts of AIH and DI-AIH patients would probably render more subtle features that could be of help in the differential diagnosis between both entities. Growing information on the relationship of drugs and AIH is being available, being drugs like statins and biologic agents more frequently involved in cases of DIAILD. In addition, there is some evidence on the fact that patients diagnosed with DIAILD may have had a previous episode of hepatotoxicity. Further collaborative studies in DIAILD will strengthen the knowledge and understanding of this intriguing and complex disorder which might represent different phenotypes across the spectrum of disease.
Advances in recent years in the understanding of, and the genetic diagnosis of hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) have changed the approach to iron overload hereditary diseases. The ability to use a radiologic tool (MRI) that accurately provides liver iron concentration determination, and the presence of non-invasive serologic markers for fibrosis prediction (serum ferritin, platelet count, transaminases, etc), have diminished the need for liver biopsy for diagnosis and prognosis of this disease. Consequently, the role of liver biopsy in iron metabolism disorders is changing. Furthermore, the irruption of transient elastography to assess liver stiffness, and, more recently, the ability to determine liver fibrosis by means of MRI elastography will change this role even more, with a potential drastic decline in hepatic biopsies in years to come. This review will provide a brief summary of the different non-invasive methods available nowadays for diagnosis and prognosis in HH, and point out potential new techniques that could come about in the next years for fibrosis prediction, thus avoiding the need for liver biopsy in a greater number of patients. It is possible that liver biopsy will remain useful for the diagnosis of associated diseases, where other non-invasive means are not possible, or for those rare cases displaying discrepancies between radiological and biochemical markers.
To assess the accuracy of quantification of liver iron concentration (LIC) by MRI using the Rennes University (URennes) algorithm.
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