Comparative pathology

  • Thomas Longerich
  • Peter Schirmacher
Part of the Birkhäuser Advances in Infectious Diseases book series (BAID)


Hepatitis is defined as a necroinflammation of the liver displaying liver cell damage, inflammatory cell infiltrates, and regeneration to a variable extent. In contrast to acute hepatitis, which is characterised by a self-limiting damage of the acinar parenchyma, chronic hepatitis is pathomorphologically defined by the persistence of necroinflammation, portal predominance of mononuclear inflammatory infiltrates, and the development of fibrosis. Whereas HAV and HEV do not cause chronic hepatitis in humans, HBV (alone or in combination with HDV) and HCV infection may result in chronic liver disease in humans, which may progress to liver cirrhosis and HCC. Initial animal models for the study of viral hepatitis belonged to the group of nonhuman primates, especially chimpanzees, which can be infected by human hepatitis viruses. These models develop a milder acute hepatitis compared to humans and although chronic hepatitis may also develop, progressive liver disease and liver cirrhosis are generally absent. In the case of HBV, several mammalian and avian HBV-related viruses are known. The most intensively characterised model is the Eastern woodchuck infected with WHV. This example is the only model in which chronic liver disease and HCC frequently develop. Recently, the tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri) has become an interesting model since it can be infected with human hepatitis viruses, it can be handled more easily compared to chimpanzees, and it can be used in transplantation models. Additionally, several transgenic mice and human mouse chimera have been developed, which allow for the studying of viral replication and novel therapeutic approaches in vivo.


Chronic Hepatitis Visceral Leishmaniasis Acute Hepatitis Chronic Viral Hepatitis Tree Shrew 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Longerich
    • 1
  • Peter Schirmacher
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PathologyUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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