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Clin Liver Dis. 2002 May;6(2):317-34, v.

Hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8700 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.


Hepatitis B and C are worldwide infectious hepatitides which are distinct in terms of epidemiology and molecular biology, but which may be quite similar in terms of clinical manifestations and histopathology, in both the acute and chronic stages. Hepatitis B virus (HBV), the human prototype of the Hepadnaviridae family of viruses is not directly cytopathic and viral hepatitis is caused by the cellular immune response to HBV. Patients infected with HBV may also have hepatitis D (delta) virus (HDV) infection, either as co-infection or a superinfection. Hepatitis D virus does not infect independently. Better control of HBV has also led to a decline in the incidence of HDV. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is on of the Flaviviridae family of viruses, and is quite heterogeneous, with six major genotypes and more than 100 subtypes. Hepatitis C virus circulates as quasispecies that result from mutations accumulated over time, which probably enable HCV to replicate efficiently or resist immune mechanisms. Quasispecies have complicated vaccine development. Both HBV and HCV will recur in the transplanted liver. The risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma is significantly greater in both HBV- and HCV-infected individuals.

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