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Alcoholic Cirrhosis Increases Risk for Autoimmune Diseases: A Nationwide Registry-Based Cohort Study

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BACKGROUND & AIMS: Alcoholic cirrhosis is associated with hyperactivation and dysregulation of the immune system. In addition to its ability to increase risk for infections, it also may increase the risk for autoimmune diseases. We studied the incidence of autoimmune diseases among patients with alcohol-associated cirrhosis vs controls in Denmark.

METHODS: We collected data from nationwide health care registries to identify and follow up all citizens of Denmark diagnosed with alcoholic cirrhosis from 1977 through 2010. Each patient was matched with 5 random individuals from the population (controls) of the same sex and age. The incidence rates of various autoimmune diseases were compared between patients with cirrhosis and controls and adjusted for the number of hospitalizations in the previous year (a marker for the frequency of clinical examination).

RESULTS: Of the 24,679 patients diagnosed with alcoholic cirrhosis, 532 developed an autoimmune disease, yielding an overall increased adjusted incidence rate ratio (aIRR) of 1.36 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24-1.50). The strongest associations were with Addison's disease (aIRR, 2.47; 95% CI, 1.04-5.85), inflammatory bowel disease (aIRR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.26-1.92), celiac disease (aIRR, 5.12; 95% CI, 2.58-10.16), pernicious anemia (aIRR, 2.35; 95% CI, 1.50-3.68), and psoriasis (aIRR, 4.06; 95% CI, 3.32-4.97). There was no increase in the incidence rate for rheumatoid arthritis (aIRR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.69-1.15); the incidence rate for polymyalgia rheumatica decreased in patients with alcohol-associated cirrhosis, compared with controls (aIRR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.33-0.67).

CONCLUSIONS: Based on a nationwide cohort study of patients in Denmark, alcohol-associated cirrhosis is a risk factor for several autoimmune diseases.

TidsskriftClinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association
StatusUdgivet - 1 jun. 2015

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