Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is an inflammatory disease of the liver that results in immune mediated destruction of liver cells that can result in cirrhosis, liver failure, and even death. AIH can present as an acute fulminant event or insidiously over many years, however diagnosis and treatment implementation can be delayed because of complex clinical presentations. Epidemiologic reports have solidified the observation of a female predominance, yet AIH can present in all ages and ethnic populations. Limited data regarding prevalence of AIH has estimated between 50 and 200 cases per 1 million among Caucasians from Western Europe and North America.
The Autoimmune Hepatitis Research Network (AHRN) was developed at Indiana University School of Medicine for studying Autoimmune Liver Disease. The overall objective of the AHRN is to collect information retrospectively and prospectively from AIH patients in order to study both genetic underpinnings and environmental factors important in disease development and outcomes. This collection is called the GRACE Study: Genetic Repository of Autoimmune Liver Disease and Contributing Exposures.