Lymphocyte cytotoxicity to isolated hepatocytes in chronic active hepatitis

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CHRONIC active hepatitis is the term used to describe a chronic progressive liver disease with superimposed episodes of activity, which is characterised histologically by a dense mononuclear cell infiltrate in the portal tracts and piecemeal necrosis of periportal hepatocytes. Indirect evidence suggests that this may be an autoimmune disease. Antibodies reacting with smooth muscle, nuclei or mitochondria are present in the majority of patients1 and there is also evidence of a cell-mediated autoimmune reaction as shown by the finding of inhibition of leukocyte migration by a human liver-specific lipoprotein (LSP)2. This macrolipoprotein, when injected repeatedly into rabbits, will induce chronic aggressive hepatitis, and is thought to be a normal constituent of the hepatocyte plasma membrane3.

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