Long-term delta superinfection in hepatitis B surface antigen carriers and its relationship to the course of chronic hepatitis

Massimo Colombo, Rita Cambieri, Maria Grazia Rumi, Guido Ronchi, Ersilio Del Ninno, Roberto De Franchis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To assess the prevalence and clinical significance of δ-infection in chronic hepatitis B surface antigen carriers, we examined 326 liver biopsies from 192 retrospectively selected carriers by immunofluorescence. Delta antigen was detected in 102 specimens from 50 carriers (26.2%) with peak prevalence in patients with active cirrhosis (51.5%) and generally in close association with progressive liver disease (94%). The antigen was located in the nuclei of 2%-50% of the hepatocytes, without any disease-specific pattern of fluorescence. Patients with intrahepatic delta-antigen, however, had more severe liver disease than those without it. Histologic follow-up of 101 cases showed that the rates of worsening of the liver disease were similar in delta-antigen-positive and in delta-antigen-negative patients. It is concluded that delta-superinfection does play a role in worsening the histologic picture of hepatitis B surface antigen-positive chronic active hepatitis, possibly by liver injury induced acutely at the moment of infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-239
Number of pages5
JournalGastroenterology
Volume85
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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