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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology - Volume 24 2010, Issue 4, Pages 225-231

Review Liver Centre, Toronto Western Hospital-University Health Network and the Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Received 10 April 2009; Accepted 14 April 2009

Copyright © 2010 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This open-access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License CC BY-NC, which permits reuse, distribution and reproduction of the article, provided that the original work is properly cited and the reuse is restricted to noncommercial purposes.


Confirming whether a patient has autoimmune liver disease is challenging, given its varied presentation and complex definitions. In the continued absence of pathognomonic serum markers, diagnosis requires evaluation of laboratory investigations and, frequently, a liver biopsy – all of which need to be interpreted in the correct clinical context, with an emphasis on exclusion of viral infections, drug toxicity and metabolic disease. However, clear diagnosis is important for appropriate and timely therapy. Autoantibodies remain important tools for clinicians, and were the first proposed serological markers to aid in differentiating viral from chronic autoimmune hepatitis. Their presence is occasionally considered to be synonymous with autoimmune liver disease – a misinterpretation of their clinical significance. The present article summarizes the serum autoantibodies currently investigated in clinical and research practice, along with a description of their value in adult chronic liver diseases, with an emphasis on their appropriate use in the diagnosis and management of patients with autoimmune liver disease.

Autor: Marilyn V Zeman and Gideon M Hirschfield



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