Objectives: Pregnancy in autoimmune hepatitis has been a rare event, but it has become more frequent with improved therapy. The present study aimed to analyze the consequences for mother and child in patients with autoimmune hepatitis.
Methods: Fourteen pregnancies have been followed in five patients with autoimmune chronic hepatitis (AIH) and in one with autoimmune sclerosing cholangitis (overlap AIH-PSC).
Results: Features of AIH improved markedly from the second trimester of pregnancy onward, allowing a decrease in immunosuppressive therapy. After delivery (or stillbirth in one patient), the activity of the autoimmune disease flared up rapidly in 12 of 14 events.
Conclusions: Pregnancy induces a state of immune tolerance with improvement of the liver tests in AIH. This could result from a transition of TH1 to TH2 predominance during pregnancy. A flare-up often occurs after delivery. Preemptive increase of the immunosuppressive therapy is therefore advocated consecutive to delivery. Azathioprine use seems to be safe during pregnancy.