The recognition of replicating hepatitis B virus (HBV) may be important to both define the cause of and know how to manage chronic liver disease in multitransfused hemophilic patients. Replicating HBV can be detected at the molecular level by methods for HBV-specific DNA (HBV-DNA), which are much more sensitive than the immunologic methods for detecting hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg). Unselected hemophilic patients (260; 6% with HBsAg, 4% with isolated anti-hepatitis B core (anti-HBc), 52% with anti-HBs and anti-HBc, 26% with isolated anti-HBs, and 12% with no HBV marker) were investigated retrospectively with a dot spot hybridization technique that detects serum HBV-DNA down to 0.5 pg and by Southern blot analysis, which tests the specificity of the HBV-DNA reactions. Eighteen patients (7%; five with serum HBsAg and 13 HBsAg seronegative with antibodies to HBV) had serum HBV-DNA. Serum HBV-DNA was detected more frequently in HBsAg carriers than in seronegative patients (33% versus 6%, P <.01), and had no relationship to serum alanine aminotransferase. Serum HBV-DNA was more sensitive than the radioimmunoassay for HBeAg was for detecting replicating HBV (7% versus 1.1%, P <.01). These findings demonstrate that there is cryptic HBV infection in a number of hemophiliacs and that serum HBV-DNA may coexist with markers thought to reflect immunity against HBV.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 1990|
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