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Hepatoportal sclerosis related to the use of herbal and nutritional supplements. Causality or coincidence?

Fernanda Ferreira Rios, Luiz Antônio Rodrigues de Freitas, Liana Codes, Genario Oliveira Santos Junior, Maria Isabel Schinoni, Raymundo Paraná


Introduction and aim. Non-cirrhotic idiopathic portal hypertension (NCIPH), also known as hepatoportal sclerosis (HPS) is a disease of uncertain etiology. However, various pathophysiological mechanisms has been postulated, including chronic or recurrent infections and exposure to drugs or toxins. In this context, it appears to be of multifactorial etiology or resulting from a portal vascular endothelium aggression. It is important to consider whether the use of dietary supplements and herbs can trigger or contribute to the occurance of HPS. We report a possible association of HPS with the consumption of herbals and / or dietary supplements. Material and methods. We describe two cases of HPS in patients without known etiology causes associated with this disease. Results. Both patients were females who were diagnosed with HPS following the consumption of Herbalife® products and putative anorexigenic agents in the form herbals infusions. Image-based analysis and the assessment of the histopathological alterations found in the livers confirmed the diagnosis. The histopatological analysis of liver samples from both patients showed portal tracts enlarged by fibrosis with disappearance or reduction in the diameter of the portal vein branches. In many portal tracts, portal veins branches were replaced by aberrant thin-walled fendiforme vessels. The bile ducts and branches of the hepatic artery show normal aspects. Conclusion. After the exclusion of other etiologic factors and a comprehensive analysis of clinical history, consumption of Herbalife® products and anorexigenic agents was pointed-out as a puttative predisposing factor for the development of the disease.

Key words. Non-cirrhotic portal fibrosis, Hepatoportal sclerosis, Obliterative portal venopathy, Liver, Herbalife hepatotoxicity

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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