The availability of accurate serologic assays for the detection of the hepatitis viruses has led to a more definitive characterization of bona fide cases of autoimmune hepatitis. There have been recent changes in the definition and classification of autoimmune hepatitis, as well as the development of more stringent clinical, serologic, and histologic criteria for the diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis. Advances have also been made in the understanding of the immunopathogenic mechanisms involved in hepatocellular injury and necrosis. Preliminary results of the newly developed immunosuppressive agents in the treatment of refractory autoimmune hepatitis cases appears to be encouraging, as does the long-term survival after orthotopic liver transplantation.
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