Hepatitis in common variable immunodeficiency

Jason A. Daniels, Michael Torbenson, Perumal Vivekanandan, Robert A. Anders, John K. Boitnott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Common variable immunodeficiency is an important form of primary immunodeficiency disease. The most recognized histologic manifestation of common variable immunodeficiency is a paucity of plasma cells in gut biopsies. However, chronic inflammation can affect other organs including the liver. This study was designed to characterize the histologic findings in liver biopsies of individuals with common variable immunodeficiency. Thirteen liver biopsies from 10 patients were identified. The most common indication for biopsy was elevated liver enzymes, hepatomegaly, and/or splenomegaly. The biopsies typically showed mild portal and mild-to-moderate lobular chronic inflammation with minimal or absent interface activity. Plasma cells were absent in all cases. The biopsy specimens showed no fibrosis (n = 5) or mild portal fibrosis (n = 5). In 2 patients with follow-up biopsies, no fibrosis progression was identified. Four individuals showed small numbers of scattered portal and/or lobular granulomas, 3 of whom had diagnoses of coexistent sarcoidosis. Overall, the inflammatory changes in the biopsies were reminiscent of those seen in individuals with chronic inflammation of the gut, which can lead to translocation of intestinal luminal antigens to the liver and a mild hepatitis. Subsequent review of concurrent intestinal biopsies available in 7 individuals showed intestinal inflammation in 5 of 7 cases. In conclusion, liver biopsies in individuals with common variable immunodeficiency show mild portal and lobular inflammation with no or mild portal fibrosis. The etiology of the common variable immunodeficiency hepatitis remains unclear but, in some cases, may be secondary to mucosal inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-488
Number of pages5
JournalHuman pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • CVID
  • Common variable immunodeficiency
  • Hepatitis
  • Liver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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