Changes of serum hepatitis B virus DNA in two types of clinical events preceding spontaneous hepatitis B e antigen seroconversion in chronic type B hepatitis

Yun‐Fan ‐F Liaw*, Chia C. Pao, Chia‐Ming ‐M Chu, I‐Shyan ‐S Sheen, Miau‐Ju ‐J Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

72 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two types of clinical events, acute exacerbation and uneventful course, precede spontaneous HBeAg serocon‐version to its antibody (anti‐HBe) in chronic type B hepatitis. To examine the possible mechanism responsible for these two types of clinical events, serial serum specimens from 75 patients who underwent spontaneous HBeAg seroconversion were assayed for hepatitis B virus DNA by slot blot hybridization with 32P‐labeled cloned hepatitis B virus DNA as probe. Of these 75 patients, 47 (62.7%) had episodes of acute exacerbation (ALT >300 IU per liter) within 3 months prior to HBeAg seroconversion. All of these 47 patients had high hepatitis B virus DNA levels (> 1,000 pg per ml) at the onset of acute exacerbation. Their serum hepatitis B virus DNA disappears shortly before or simultaneously with the HBeAg clearance in 27 patients (57.4%) and persisted but with decreasing levels for 2 to 40 months in 20 patients. Most of these patients had high α‐feto‐protein levels or evidence of bridging hepatic necrosis. In contrast, the serum hepatitis B virus DNA was undetectable for a minimum of 3 (3–17) months in the 28 patients who had an uneventful course before HBeAg seroconversion. Twenty of these 28 patients had well‐documented episodes of acute exacerbation with high hepatitis B virus DNA levels, but with normal α‐feto‐protein and little evidence of extensive necrosis as far back as 6 to 27 months before HBeAg seroconversion. The data might suggest that all spontaneous HBeAg seroconversion in chronic type B hepatitis was preceded by acute exacerbation as a result of immune clearance of hepatitis B virus, and the clinical events occurred within 3 months before HBeAg seroconversion were related to the serum hepatitis B virus DNA levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalHepatology
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

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