, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 565-569

Prevalence of Hepatitis B Virus Genotype D in Precore Mutants Among Chronic Liver Disease Patients from New Delhi, India

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Hepatitis B is one of the most important causes of chronic viral hepatitis world wide. Mutations in the precore region of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) genome are frequently found in hepatitis B envelope antigen-negative cases. Data from India on the HBV genotype-associated distribution of precore mutations are limited. Our objective in this study was to genotype and detect the precore mutant with a point mutation from G to A at nucleotide 1896 using ligase chain reaction (LCR) and direct sequencing. A total of 115 cases of chronic liver disease were screened. The cases were evaluated on the basis of history, clinical examination, liver function profile, and serological test for HBV infection, which includes HBsAg, anti HBcIgG, HBeAg using commercially available ELISA kits. The cases, which were HBeAg+, HBeAg–, and HBV DNA+, were subjected to LCR and confirmed by direct sequencing. Of 115 chronic liver disease cases, 50 (43.5%) cases were HBV DNA positive. All cases were subjected to LCR; 11 (22%) cases confirmed the presence of precore mutants, while the remaining 39 (78%) were classified as the wild form of the virus. HBV genotyping by direct sequencing revealed that genotype D was predominant in both wild and mutant forms of the virus. We conclude that the HBV genotype distribution was not significantly different between precore mutants and the wild form of the virus (P>0.05). North Indian patients with genotype D were more likely to have persistent HBV infection with precore mutants. HBV genotypes correlate with the clinical outcome of chronic HBV infection.