Article Text

Unexpected outcome (positive or negative) including adverse drug reactions
Autoimmune hepatitis following Epstein–Barr virus infection
  1. Daniela Cabibi
  1. University of Palermo, Human Pathology, Via del Vespro 129, Palermo, 90127, Italy
  1. cabibidaniela{at}


We describe a case of a young man with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) following Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection, in whom a long follow-up showed favourable outcome with complete clinical recovery and failure to relapse after cessation of immunosuppressive therapy. The study underlines the importance of the differential diagnosis between primary EBV associated hepatitis with features of autoimmunity, in which there is a direct pathogenetic role of the virus, and EBV related AIH, in which EBV could act as the trigger of the immune mediated damage with probable differences between the two conditions with regard to the prognosis and the responsiveness to immunosuppressive treatment. The favourable outcome in our patient, better than most of the AIH cases, may be related both to the moderate necroinflammatory activity and to the low level of fibrosis at the beginning of the disease, or to the role of EBV as a trigger of AIH. The hypothesis that EBV related AIH could have a more favourable prognosis than most of the AIH cases in general needs to be confirmed in a larger series of studies.

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  • Competing interests: none.

  • Patient consent: Patient/guardian consent was obtained for publication