Quantitative detection of hepatitis B virus DNA in sera from patients with acute hepatitis B
- Cite this article as:
- Tassopoulos, N.C., Kuhns, M.C., Koutelou, M.G. et al. Digest Dis Sci (1993) 38: 2156. doi:10.1007/BF01299889
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Two hundred forty-four serial serum samples from 30 adults hospitalized with benign (nonfulminant) acute hepatitis B were tested for the presence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA by a quantitative solution hybridization assay using a125I-labeled DNA probe complementary to HBV-DNA sequences. Acute hepatitis B was self-limiting in 28 and progressed to chronicity in the remaining two patients. Of the 28 patients with self-limiting hepatitis, 21 (75%) were hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) positive, 26 (93%) were HBV-DNA positive, and one patient (3.6%) was negative for both markers on admission to the hospital. HBV-DNA cleared after HBeAg clearance in 20 (71.4%), before HBeAg clearance in five (17.9%) and simultaneously with the loss of HBeAg in the remaining two (7.1%) of the 27 initially HBV-DNA- and/or HBeAg-positive patients. Moreover, HBV-DNA remained detectable in serum for 13.3±6.6 (range: 4–22) days after the appearance of anti-HBe in 71.4% of these patients. In contrast, HBV-DNA and HBeAg remained persistently positive in the two patients who developed chronic HBV infection. These data show that: (1) viremia frequently persists after disappearance of HBeAg and (2) appearance of anti-HBe does not indicate the cessation of HBV replication in adults with acute self-limiting hepatitis B.