Hepatitis B virus occult infection in subjects with persistent isolated anti-HBc reactivity
Sánchez-Quijano A, Jauregui JI, Leal M, Pineda JA, Castilla A, Abad MA, Civeira MP [SP], García de Pesquera F, Prieto J, Lissen E.
Viral Hepatitis and AIDS Study Group, Virgen del Rocio University Hospital, Seville, Spain.
Magazine: Journal of Hepatology
Date: Mar 1, 1993Hepatology
The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of hepatitis B virus occult infection in asymptomatic subjects with persistent anti-HBc reactivity but no other hepatitis B virus serological markers, including HBsAg, anti-HBs, IgM anti-HBc and HBV-DNA.
For this purpose we used both polymerase chain reaction assays in sera and immunohistochemistry for HBsAg and HBcAg in liver biopsy specimens. Twenty-four cases were studied: 15 were drug abusers or homosexuals (eight with normal alanine aminotransferase levels) and nine were heterosexuals with raised alanine aminotransferase levels (> 45 U/l) but with no history of blood transfusion or ethanol intake (< 80 g daily). In all but five cases, liver biopsy was performed in subjects with persistent elevated alanine aminotransferase levels.
In 10 out of 24 cases (41.66%) hepatitis B virus infection was demonstrated by polymerase chain reaction or immunohistochemistry, and when results from both procedures were available (n = 11) hepatitis B virus infection was detected in 63.63% of the subjects. The only clinical feature associated with HBV infection was the presence of persistent elevated alanine aminotransferase levels (p < 0.05).
In conclusion, persistent isolated anti-HBc reactivity may be a relatively common serologic pattern for hepatitis B virus occult infection, at least in patients with chronic liver disease.
CITATION J Hepatol. 1993 Mar;17(3):288-93.
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