Thursday, July 13, 2006

Hepatitis Induced by Noni Juice from Morinda citrifolia: A Rare Cause of Hepatotoxicity or the Tip of the Iceberg?

A 24-year-old female patient presented to her community hospital with mild elevations of serum transaminase and bilirubin levels. Because of multiple sclerosis sclerosis, she was treated with interferon beta-1a for 6 weeks.

After exclusion of viral hepatitis due to hepatitis A-E, interferon beta-1a was withdrawn under the suspicion of drug-induced hepatitis. One week later, she was admitted again to her community hospital with severe icterus.

The transaminase and bilirubin levels were highly elevated, and a beginning impairment of the liver synthesis was expressed by a reduced prothrombin time. The confinement to our department occurred with a fulminant hepatitis and the suspicion of beginning acute liver failure. There was no evidence for hepatitis due to potentially hepatotoxic viruses, alcoholic hepatitis, Budd-Chiari syndrome, hemochromatosis, and Wilson's disease.

In her serum there were high titers of liver-kidney microsomal type 1 autoantibody; the serum gamma globulin levels were in the normal range. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy of the liver ruled out an autoimmune hepatitis but showed signs of drug-induced toxicity.

During the interview, she admitted that for 'general immune system stimulation' she had been drinking Noni juice, a Polynesian herbal remedy made from a tropical fruit (Morinda citrifolia), during the past 4 weeks. After cessation of the Noni juice ingestion, her transaminase levels normalized quickly and were in the normal range within 1 month.
Copyright © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

Department of Internal Medicine II andbInstitute of Pathology, Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Munich, Germany
Address of Corresponding Author

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