Conditions & Treatments

Other Liver Disorders

An autoimmune disorder is any reaction or attack of a person's immune system against its own organs and tissues.

Other Liver Disorders

What are autoimmune liver disorders?

An autoimmune disorder is any reaction or attack of a person's immune system against its own organs and tissues. In the liver, the immune system can destroy liver cells and damage bile ducts. Chronic active hepatitis can be caused by an autoimmune disorder.

In autoimmune hepatitis, the body's own immune system destroys the cells of the liver. It may be classified as type 1, type 2 (and subtypes of type 2), or type 3. Type 1 (classic) is the most common form. It may occur at any age, but usually affects young women more than men. Also, other autoimmune disorders can be associated with type 1 such as thyroiditis, Grave's disease, and ulcerative colitis. Type 2 autoimmune hepatitis generally affects girls between the ages of two and 14, but occurs in adults, too.

What are metabolic liver disorders?

Two main metabolic disorders affect the liver:

  • Hemochromatosis (also called iron overload disease). This disease is characterized by the absorption of too much iron from food. Instead of secreting the excess iron, the iron is stored throughout the body, including the liver and pancreas. The excess iron can damage these organs. Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disease that can lead to liver disease, liver failure, liver cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

  • Wilson disease. This disease is characterized by the retention of too much copper in the liver. Instead of releasing the copper into the bile, the liver retains the copper. Eventually, the damaged liver releases copper into the bloodstream. This hereditary disease can cause damage to the kidneys, brain, and eyes, and can lead to severe brain damage, liver failure, and death.

Treatment Programs


Massachusetts General Hospital understands that a variety of factors influence patients' health care decisions. That's just one reason why we're dedicated to ensuring patients understand their diagnosis and treatment options. Because a single option might not serve all patients, we offer a wide range of coordinated treatments and related services across the hospital. Patients should consult with their primary care doctor or other qualified health care provider for medical advice and diagnosis information.

Select a treatment program for more information:



Digestive Healthcare Center

  • Liver Center
    Massachusetts General Hospital Liver Center specialists are authorities in the diagnosis and management of all forms of acute and chronic liver disease.
Imaging

  • Pediatric Imaging
    The Pediatric Imaging Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging specializes in ensuring the safety and comfort of child patients while providing the latest technology and the expertise of specialized pediatric radiologists.
  • Adult Medicine Imaging
    The Adult Medicine Imaging Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging offers a wide range of diagnostic exams and minimally invasive, image-guided treatments, all provided using leading-edge equipment and interpreted by specialty-trained radiologists.
MassGeneral Hospital for Children

  • Psychology Assessment Center
    The pediatric neuropsychology specialists at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Psychology Assessment Center provide neuropsychological assessments to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological, medical, genetic and developmental disorders.
  • Pediatric Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Program
    The Pediatric Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Program at MassGeneral Hospital for Children diagnoses and treats infants, children and adolescents with diverse hepatic, biliary and pancreatic disorders.
Gastroenterology

  • Liver and Hepatitis Program
    The Liver and Hepatitis Program at Massachusetts General Hospital provides expert consultation and state-of-the-art care for patients with acute and chronic liver conditions, including curative therapies for hepatitis C virus (HCV)

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Innovative care at the Digestive Healthcare Center

Learn more about the latest treatment options for this condition at the Digestive Healthcare Center