The immunopathogenetic role of autoantibodies in canine autoimmune hepatitis: Lessons to learn from human autoimmune hepatitis
Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is not a disease entity restricted to man, but it can be found in other animals including canines. An increasing number of studies have focused on the immunopathogenesis of human autoimmune hepatitis (hAIH), but little is known of what triggers canine autoimmune hepatitis (cAIH). Several drugs, toxins, microbial and viral agents are able to induce autoantibodies and indeed immune-mediated chronic canine hepatitis with immunological and serological features similar of those seen in the human disease. We discuss the features of cAIH paying attention to the autoantibody profile of the disease in comparison to that seen in hAIH. We also discuss the immunomodulatory role of specific molecular signaling pathways such as those mediated by tumor growth factor and p38 mitogen-activated kinase in the induction of AIH, and the potential of these molecules to act as targets of specialized immunotherapeutic interventions. Review of the literature indicates that we have more to learn for the delineation of autoantibody profile and the antigen-specific immunoregulatory mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of cAIH from the human disease, rather than the other way around. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Italia.
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