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Liver or Hepatic Granulomatous Disease 

Microscopic View of a Liver Granuloma. Courtesy pathology.med.umich.edu/greensonlab.

Microscopic View of a Liver Granuloma. Courtesy pathology.med.umich.edu/greensonlab.

What Is Hepatic Granulomatous Disease?

Hepatic granulomatous disease is an infiltrative chronic liver disorder characterized by growth of small granulomas.

Rather than being a final diagnosis, the presence of hepatic granulomas entails the need for further investigations towards identifying the underlying etiology, with a pathologist being at the center of the diagnostic process.1

Q: What are hepatic granulomas?

A: Hepatic granulomas are unique inflammatory formations that require liver biopsy for diagnosis.2

Hepatic granulomas develop through the interactions of T lymphocytes and macrophages, with the integral involvement of T-helper (T(H)) 1 or T(H)2 pathways or both, depending on the specific granulomatous disease.

Hepatic granulomas may be detected clinically by elevated levels of serum alkaline phosphatase and g-glutamyltransferase enzymes, damage to specific structures (e.g., intrahepatic bile ducts in primary biliary cirrhosis), or infrequently, progressive liver disease with portal hypertension and cirrhosis (e.g., sarcoidosis).

Systemic immunologic disorders, infectious diseases, drug hepatotoxicity, and reaction to neoplastic disease are the major causative factors responsible for granulomas in the liver.3

What Is Hepatic Granulomatous Disease In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. Turhan N, Kurt M, Ozderin YO, Kurt OK. Hepatic granulomas: a clinicopathologic analysis of 86 cases. Pathol Res Pract. 2011 Jun 15;207(6):359-65. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2011.03.003. Epub 2011 Apr 30. 

  2. Bhardwaj SS, Saxena R, Kwo PY. Granulomatous liver disease. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2009 Feb;11(1):42-9. 

  3. Lagana SM1, Moreira RK, Lefkowitch JH. Hepatic granulomas: pathogenesis and differential diagnosis. Clin Liver Dis. 2010 Nov;14(4):605-17. doi: 10.1016/j.cld.2010.07.005. 

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