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Dig Dis Sci. 1993 Dec;38(12):2156-62.

Quantitative detection of hepatitis B virus DNA in sera from patients with acute hepatitis B.

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  • 1First Department of Medicine, Western Attica General Hospital, Athens, Greece.


Two hundred forty-four serial serum samples from 30 adults hospitalized with benign (nonfulminant) acute hepatitis B were tested for the presence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA by a quantitative solution hybridization assay using a 125I-labeled DNA probe complementary to HBV-DNA sequences. Acute hepatitis B was self-limiting in 28 and progressed to chronicity in the remaining two patients. Of the 28 patients with self-limiting hepatitis, 21 (75%) were hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) positive, 26 (93%) were HBV-DNA positive, and one patient (3.6%) was negative for both markers on admission to the hospital. HBV-DNA cleared after HBeAg clearance in 20 (71.4%), before HBeAg clearance in five (17.9%) and simultaneously with the loss of HBeAg in the remaining two (7.1%) of the 27 initially HBV-DNA- and/or HBeAg-positive patients. Moreover, HBV-DNA remained detectable in serum for 13.3 +/- 6.6 (range: 4-22) days after the appearance of anti-HBe in 71.4% of these patients. In contrast, HBV-DNA and HBeAg remained persistently positive in the two patients who developed chronic HBV infection. These data show that (1) viremia frequently persists after disappearance of HBeAg and (2) appearance of anti-HBe does not indicate the cessation of HBV replication in adults with acute self-limiting hepatitis B.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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