Baseline IL-2 and the AIH score can predict the response to standard therapy in paediatric autoimmune hepatitis

Sci Rep. 2018 Jan 11;8(1):419. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-18818-5.


Although autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) can be treated with corticosteroid-based first-line therapy, incomplete remission is associated with progressive liver fibrosis. So far accepted predictors of the subsequent treatment response of AIH patients are lacking. Therefore, we analysed baseline parameters, including iron homeostasis and cytokine levels, in 60 children with paediatric AIH (pAIH). In contrast to adults, elevated serum markers indicating iron overload were not commonly found in children. Therefore, ferritin was not predictive of the treatment response in pAIH. Although baseline immunoglobulins were lower in pAIH children with subsequent complete biochemical remission (BR) upon standard first-line therapy, only lower AIH scores (≤16 points) could predict BR upon standard therapy in our training and validation cohorts. Additionally, higher baseline IL-2 and MCP-1/CCL2 levels were associated with BR in a sub-cohort. A combined score of IL-2 level and a simplified AIH score predicted treatment response more precisely than both parameter alone in this sub-cohort. In conclusion, the baseline AIH score could be validated as a predictor of treatment response in pAIH. Additionally, low baseline IL-2 may help identify children who need salvage therapy. This could be important because the use of low-dose IL-2 therapies is being tested in various autoimmune diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Chemokine CCL2 / blood
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune / immunology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / blood*
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • CCL2 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL2
  • IL2 protein, human
  • Interleukin-2
  • Iron