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Giant cell hepatitis associated with systemic lupus erythematosus.
  1. A Cairns,
  2. R F McMahon
  1. Department of Histopathology, Manchester Royal Infirmary.


    Giant hepatocytes are commonly found in several neonatal and infantile liver diseases, but are rarely found in adult liver disease. A 42 year old white woman presented with a five month history of paraesthesia and numbness of both the upper and lower limbs and with vague abdominal pain. Abnormal liver function was noted on routine screening. Ultrasound scan of the abdomen showed gallstones; barium enema, ERCP and computed tomography scan were all normal. IgG antibodies to double stranded DNA were present at a titre of 40 units. Anti-cardiolipin antibodies, anti-mitochondrial antibodies and rheumatoid factor were not detected. Serology for hepatitis A, B, C, and paramyxoviruses was negative, as was the Paul Bunnell test. A clinical diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with an axonal sensory polyneuropathy was made, the latter confirmed on biopsy of the sural nerve. Giant cells were noted on liver biopsy. The patient was treated with corticosteroids; liver function had improved after two years of follow up. When extensive giant cell transformation is noted on liver biopsy, particularly when neuropathy is also a feature, the possibility of an association with SLE should be considered.

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