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JHEP Reports ; 5(1), 2023.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2239870

ABSTRACT

Background & Aims: Liver injury with autoimmune features after vaccination against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is increasingly reported. We investigated a large international cohort of individuals with acute hepatitis arising after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, focusing on histological and serological features. Methods: Individuals without known pre-existing liver diseases and transaminase levels ≥5x the upper limit of normal within 3 months after any anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, and available liver biopsy were included. Fifty-nine patients were recruited;35 females;median age 54 years. They were exposed to various combinations of mRNA, vectorial, inactivated and protein-based vaccines. Results: Liver histology showed predominantly lobular hepatitis in 45 (76%), predominantly portal hepatitis in 10 (17%), and other patterns in four (7%) cases;seven had fibrosis Ishak stage ≥3, associated with more severe interface hepatitis. Autoimmune serology, centrally tested in 31 cases, showed anti-antinuclear antibody in 23 (74%), anti-smooth muscle antibody in 19 (61%), anti-gastric parietal cells in eight (26%), anti-liver kidney microsomal antibody in four (13%), and anti-mitochondrial antibody in four (13%) cases. Ninety-one percent were treated with steroids ± azathioprine. Serum transaminase levels improved in all cases and were normal in 24/58 (41%) after 3 months, and in 30/46 (65%) after 6 months. One patient required liver transplantation. Of 15 patients re-exposed to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, three relapsed. Conclusion: Acute liver injury arising after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination is frequently associated with lobular hepatitis and positive autoantibodies. Whether there is a causal relationship between liver damage and SARS-CoV-2 vaccines remains to be established. A close follow-up is warranted to assess the long-term outcomes of this condition. Impact and implications: Cases of liver injury after vaccination against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have been published. We investigated a large international cohort of individuals with acute hepatitis after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, focusing on liver biopsy findings and autoantibodies: liver biopsy frequently shows inflammation of the lobule, which is typical of recent injury, and autoantibodies are frequently positive. Whether there is a causal relationship between liver damage and SARS-CoV-2 vaccines remains to be established. Close follow-up is warranted to assess the long-term outcome of this condition. © 2022 The Author(s)

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