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J Hepatol. 1990 May;10(3):271-3.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) markers and HBV-DNA in serum and liver tissue of patients with acute exacerbation of chronic type B hepatitis.

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  • 1Istituto di Medicina Interna, Universit√° di Messina, Italy.


We analysed the serum samples and the liver biopsies of six consecutive chronic HBsAg/anti-HBe carriers admitted to hospital because of an episode of acute hepatitis. The six patients became positive for IgM anti-HBc and negative for HBeAg, hepatitis Delta virus (HDV) markers, IgM anti-hepatitis A virus (HAV), anti-cytomegalovirus (CMV) and anti-Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Two patients showed positivity for hepatitis B virus (HBV)-DNA in serum obtained on admission, with no positivity in the subsequent weeks; the results of the other four patients were always negative for seric HBV-DNA. The Southern-blot analysis of the DNA extracted from the liver tissue of four subjects showed the presence of HBV-DNA in the form of replicative intermediates; focal positivity of HBcAg was detected in the liver of only one. The liver biopsies of the last two patients were negative for HBV-DNA and for HBcAg. The analysis of HBV-DNA in the liver extracts and the demonstration of an increase of the IgM anti-HBc titre at the time of the abrupt elevation of the aminotransferase levels seem to be the most useful tools in revealing HBV activation as a cause of acute hepatitis in chronic HBsAg carriers, overall when the phase of viremia is transient.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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