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.

Histological and serological features of acute liver injury after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination

Lleo, Ana;
2023-01-01

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.
2023
AIH, autoimmune hepatitis
ALP, alkaline phosphatase
ALT, alanine aminotransferase
AMA, anti-mitochondrial antibody
ANA, anti-nuclear antibody
AST, aspartate aminotransferase
COVID-19, coronavirus disease 2019
DILI, drug-induced liver injury
IAIHG, International Autoimmune Hepatitis Group
IFT, indirect immunofluorescence
LKM, liver kidney microsomal
LT, liver transplantation
PCA, parietal cell antigen
SARS-CoV-2 vaccines
SARS-CoV-2, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2
SLA, soluble liver antigen
SMA, anti-smooth muscle antibody
ULN, upper limit of normal
acute liver injury
autoimmune liver serology
liver histology
pIgG, polyreactive IgG
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11699/78126
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