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Microbes Infect. 2013 May;15(5):409-15. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2013.02.008. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Role of maternal viremia and placental infection in hepatitis B virus intrauterine transmission.

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Institute of Liver Disease Research, Huai'an Fourth People's Hospital, Huai'an, Jiangsu Province, China.


The mechanism of intrauterine hepatitis B virus infection has not been established. In this study, venous blood, cord blood, and placental tissues from 171 chronic hepatitis B virus infected pregnant women were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen, hepatitis B core antigen, and hepatitis B virus DNA. We found that residence, mode of delivery, age, and number of gestational weeks of pregnant women were not correlated with intrauterine hepatitis B virus infection, while neonates of mothers who were hepatitis B s antigen positive and hepatitis B e antigen positive (P < 0.01) or who had high hepatitis B virus DNA levels (≥10(6) copies/ml) were more likely to get an intrauterine infection (P < 0.01). The hepatitis B virus infection rate in placental cell layers gradiently decreased from the mother's side to the fetus's side of the placenta, but the odds ratio value of correlation between placental hepatitis B virus infection and intrauterine infection gradiently increased. The way of intrauterine hepatitis B virus infection may be through a layer-layer transmission pathway, although the possibility of placental leakage cannot be excluded.

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