• hepatitis A;
  • hepatitis;
  • viral;
  • liver biopsy

ABSTRACT— Liver biopsies from 17 patients with serologically established hepatitis A were examined by light microscopy. Biopsies were taken from 2 to 27 weeks after onset of symptoms. All showed acute hepatitis, usually with centrilobular lesions but also commonly with a striking portal and periportal inflammatory reaction, resembling that seen in chronic active hepatitis. The infiltrate was rich in plasma cells. Centrilobular cholestasis was common and occasionally severe. Neither cholestasis nor the periportal lesion appeared to be related to patient age or to the timing of liver biopsy. All patients made a full recovery and none developed chronic liver disease. The histological changes differed from those reported in children and in chimpanzees in the presence of centrilobular lesions, but resembled them in that the latter two groups also had periportal lesions. These lesions may lead to a false impression of impending chronicity if the aetiology of the hepatitis is not known at the time of liver biopsy.