Successful tacrolimus therapy for a severe recurrence of type 1 autoimmune hepatitis in a liver graft recipient

Liver Transpl. 2001 Jun;7(6):556-8. doi: 10.1053/jlts.2001.24638.


A 34-year-old woman underwent orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) for decompensated type 1 autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). She was administered standard triple-drug immunosuppressive therapy (cyclosporine, steroids, and azathioprine). Ten years after OLT, she developed a recurrence of AIH, with emergence of serological markers of autoimmunity (high anti--smooth muscle antibody [ASMA] titer, high serum gamma globulin level), abnormal liver function test results, and characteristic histological features on liver biopsy. Despite intensified steroid therapy, her clinical and liver function deteriorated. The onset of cutaneous alternariosis led to a steroid dose reduction and cyclosporine replacement by tacrolimus. Clear-cut amelioration was observed, with an improvement in liver function test results and reduction in ASMA titer. One year after the recurrence of AIH, the patient has normal liver function and physical findings. Tacrolimus therefore may be effective in patients with severe recurrent autoimmune liver disease. Further studies are needed to assess tacrolimus therapy in patients who fail to respond to standard immunosuppressive therapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Female
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune / immunology
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune / pathology
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune / surgery
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Liver Transplantation / immunology
  • Liver Transplantation / pathology
  • Recurrence
  • Tacrolimus / therapeutic use*
  • gamma-Globulins / metabolism


  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • gamma-Globulins
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Tacrolimus