Alcoholic and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

Elizabeth M. Brunt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


The constellation of histopathologic lesions that characterize alcoholic and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis has been well described and has served as the basis for clinical diagnosis, natural history studies, and experimental models for analyses of etiopathogenesis. The lesions common to both entities include, to varying degrees, steatosis, liver cell ballooning, lobular inflammation with a notable component of polymorphonuclear leukocytes, and a characteristic form of fibrosis that is initially located in the perisinusoidal regions of acinar zone 3. Cirrhosis with or without steatosis or steatohepatitis may occur in both entities. Mallory's hyaline is common but not necessary; megamitochondria and varying amounts of iron may be observed in either process. Hepatocellular carcinoma is a recognized complication of both processes, albeit with greater frequency in the former. Alcoholic hepatitis may present with more severe clinical and histologic manifestations than the nonalcoholic counterpart, including significant morbidity and mortality. The perivenular lesions collectively referred to as sclerosing hyaline necrosis are markers of severity, and are not common in nonalcoholics. In many instances, however, the microscopic lesions of these two processes are similar, likely as a reflection of common pathogenetic pathways, and the distinction between the two is ultimately clinically derived.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-420
Number of pages22
JournalClinics in Liver Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 22 2002


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