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14.07.2017 | Review | Ausgabe 9/2017

Digestive Diseases and Sciences 9/2017

Global Disparities and Their Implications in the Occurrence and Outcome of Autoimmune Hepatitis

Digestive Diseases and Sciences > Ausgabe 9/2017
Albert J. Czaja


Autoimmune hepatitis has a variable occurrence, clinical phenotype, and outcome, and the factors contributing to this variability are uncertain. The goals of this review are to examine the global disparities in the occurrence and outcome of autoimmune hepatitis, suggest bases for these disparities, and encourage investigations that extend beyond single-center experiences. Disparities in the incidence and prevalence of autoimmune hepatitis in different age groups, genders, ethnicities, and geographical regions suggest that factors other than genetic predisposition are involved. Age- and gender-related antigen exposures from the external (infections, toxins, and medications) and internal (intestinal microbiome) environment may affect the incidence of the disease, and the timeliness and nature of treatment may influence its prevalence. The increasing incidence of autoimmune hepatitis in Spain, Denmark, and the Netherlands suggests that a new etiological trigger has been introduced or that the susceptible population has changed. Variations in mortality between Western and Asian-Pacific countries may result from differences in disease detection or management, and variations in gender predilection, peak age of onset, frequency of concurrent immune diseases, and serological profile may reflect gender-biased and age-related antigen exposures and genetic predispositions. Global collaborations, population-based epidemiological studies that identify case clustering, and controlled interview-based surveys are mechanisms by which to understand these disparities and improve management. In conclusion, autoimmune hepatitis has a rising incidence in some countries and variable occurrence, phenotype, and outcome between countries and subgroups within countries. These disparities suggest that unrecognized population-based environmental, infectious, or socioeconomic factors are affecting its character.

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