Human hepatitis B virus and hepatocellular carcinoma I. Experimental infection of tree shrews with hepatitis B virus

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Tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri chinenesis) can be experimentally infected with human hepatitis B virus (HBV) by inoculation with human serum positive for HBV, the experimental infection rate being 55.21%. Successive infections have been passed through five generations among the tree shrews inoculated with HBV-positive sera from the infected animals, the average infection rate being 94.0%. The experimental infection of tree shrews with HBV may be prevented by immunization with hepatitis B vaccine, the protection rate being 88.89%. Standard serum containing HBV at 108 CID (chimpanzee infection dose)/ml, was diluted 10−6, 10−7, 10−8, 10−9, and 10−10 and produced infection rates of 80.0%, 88.8%, 66.7%, 55.6% and 42.9% respectively. Thus the CID50 in tree shrews may reach a dilution of 10−9, which shows that tree shrews are sensitive to HBV infection. These results successfully establish tree shrews as a reliable and useful animal model for research on HBV infection and its relation to hepatocarcinogenesis.