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Hypoxic hepatitis with marked elevation of serum ferritin probably due to activation of intrahepatic macrophages: another form of hypoxic hepatitis hitherto not reported?

Journal Volume 84 - 2021
Issue Fasc.2 - Original articles
Author(s) M. Tanaka 1 2, T. Goya 1, H. Suzuki 1, M. Takahashi 1, K. Imoto 1, M. Kurokawa 1, S. Tashiro 1, A. Kuwano 1, S. Okada 2, M. Kato 1, M. Kohjima 1, K. Kotoh 3, Y. Ogawa 1
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Full Article
PAGES 317-320
(1) Department of Medicine and Bioregulatory Science, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan
(2) Division of Pathophysiology, Department of Immunology and Neuroscience, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan
(3) Division of Hepatology, Harasanshin Hospital, 1-8 Taihakumachi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka 812-0033, Japan

Background and study aims: Hypoxic hepatitis (HH) is an acute liver injury that develops in patients with underlying diseases, such as heart failure, respiratory failure, septic/toxic shock. However, some patients do not have underlying diseases or episodes which are known to result in HH. Here, we analyzed the clinical characteristics of this particular patient group (called ‘unknown HH’ hereafter) to understand its pathogenesis.

Patients and methods: Between October 2010 and January 2016, 157 consecutive patients with acute liver injury were admitted to our hospital. Among these patients, 15 patients were categorized as unknown HH. Medical histories and blood test results of unknown HH were analyzed.

Results: Among 15 patients of unknown HH, 11 were habitual drinkers and all experienced one of digestive symptoms which might result in mild hypovolemia such as vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss, and epigastralgia. All patients of unknown HH presented marked elevation of serum ferritin concentration paralleled with aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) concentrations. The serum levels of ferritin, ALT, LDH, and prothrombin time-international normalized ratio (PT-INR) were rapidly decreased during hospitalization and all 15 patients of unknown HH recovered without any complication.

Conclusions: We found the particular group of HH with marked elevation of serum ferritin probably due to intrahepatic macrophage activation. Anti-inflammatory treatments might be effective for this group of hypoxic hepatitis.

Keywords: acute liver injury, hepatic microcirculation, fibrin deposition, autophagy.

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
© Acta Gastro-Enterologica Belgica.