Does Mono Affect Your Liver?

Mononucleosis or mono results in the complications involving various vital organs. The liver is one of them. Epstein Barr virus results in increased damage to hepatocytes and also leads to various negative effects.

Does Mono Affect Your Liver?

Does Mono Affect Your Liver?

The effect of infective mono on the body is not severe unless the condition has progressed into its more serious form. Various complications arise due to the severity of the infection caused due to Epstein Barr virus. The organ which is probably most affected is the liver. The patient may suffer from serious over diseases and the condition leads to serious liver dysfunction. The liver enzymes have altered serum concentration and the patient may present various other symptoms of the liver disorder. The virus has a multifactorial effect on the liver. The condition is more serious in chronic EBV infection, in which the viral genome is found in the liver. Chronic EBV related to hepatic disease are more pronounced in people with a compromised immune system. In conditions with a lymphoproliferative disorder, which can also b found in non-immunocompromised patients, one-third of the patients suffer from one or the other liver complications. This turns out to be a major causative factor for the death of the patients in this particular group.

Following are the complications caused by the mono infection in the liver.

Chronic Hepatitis. Epstein Barr infection may trigger hepatitis which is caused due to the autoimmune response. In some cases, this viral infection is also found to be responsible for vanishing bile duct syndrome. Although EBV infection is rarely involved hepatocytes, the effect on liver due to EBV can be due to collateral damage. The reactivation of the EBV poses a significant risk for hepatitis.

Liver Transplantation. Transplantation is often threatened due to the development of the post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder. The disorder depends upon the types of organ been transplanted. The patients with a sustained viral infection are particularly at higher risk and the condition should be managed through a proper strategy of immunosuppression.

Liver Cancer. Studies have suggested the role of Epstein Barr virus in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. This is due to the fact that it helps in the replication of the Hepatitis C virus. However, other studies failed to conclude the association between viral infection and liver carcinoma. Thus, further studies are warranted to accept or reject this association.

Jaundice. Jaundice is another serious complication of the liver caused by mononucleosis. The condition is characterized by the yellowing of eyes and skin. The condition arises when the bile enters the blood. The condition may also be characterized by the presence of liver cell necrosis.

Altered Liver Enzymes. Mononucleosis also results in the altered level of liver enzymes in the blood. Most of the patients suffering from mononucleosis have elevated liver enzymes. The substances with elevated level include aspartate aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin, and gamma-glutamyl transferase.

Complications Of Mono

Mono, in its mild and moderate form, does not cause any serious symptoms and the symptoms subside within a few weeks or months. However, in some conditions, the disease becomes severe and affects various vital organs including liver, spleen, brain, and heart. Following are the complications associated with mononucleosis.

Splenomegaly. This condition is characterized by the enlargement of the spleen due to infiltration of a large number of lymphocytes. It also increases the risk of splenic rupture.

Liver Dysfunction. Infection caused due to Epstein Barr virus may lead to hepatitis, jaundice and increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Neurological Effects. Various neurological effects such as seizures, meningitis, and Bell’s palsy can be developed due to mononucleosis.

Anemia. Acute anemia is another complication of mononucleosis and may lead to serious consequences.

Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder. Mononucleosis may result in lymphoproliferative disorders such as lymphoma after an organ transplant.


Mono severely impacts on the functioning of the liver. Most of the patient suffering from mononucleosis is diagnosed with an increased level of liver enzymes such as alkaline phosphatase and aspartate aminotransferases. Other serious effects on the liver include hepatitis, cancer, and jaundice.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 22, 2023

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