Autoimmune hepatitis in a North American Aboriginal/First Nations population
GY Minuk | S Liu | K Kaita | E Renner | J Rempel | J Uhanova
North American Aboriginal populations are at increased risk for developing immune-mediated disorders, including autoimmune hepatitis. In the present study, the demographic, clinical, biochemical, serological, radiological and histological features of autoimmune hepatitis were compared in 33 First Nations (FN) and 150 predominantly Caucasian, non-FN patients referred to an urban tertiary care centre. FN patients were more often female (91% versus 71%; P=0.04), and more likely to have low serum albumin (69% versus 36%; P=0.0006) and elevated bilirubin (57% versus 35%; P=0.01) levels on presentation compared with non-FN patients. They also had lower hemoglobin, and complement levels, more cholestasis and higher serum immunoglobulin A levels than non-FN patients (P=0.05 respectively). Higher histological grades of inflammation and stages of fibrosis, and more clinical and radiological evidence of advanced liver disease were observed in FN patients, but the differences failed to reach statistical significance. The results of the present study suggest that in addition to being more common, autoimmune hepatitis may be more severe in FN populations, compared with predominantly Caucasian, non-FN populations.