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J Virol Methods. 1986 Sep;14(2):141-51.

Demonstration of HBsAg as the antigen component in circulating immune complexes detected by peg-solid phase test.


The development of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to identify HBsAg as the antigen component within circulating immune complexes using immobilized polyethylene glycol (PEG) is described. The method utilizes, on one hand, the ability of PEG to bind stably to plastic supports and, on the other, to precipitate circulating macromolecules. This method is easily performed, very cheap, quick and, above all, it helps define the biological nature of the immune complexes. HBsAg can be revealed as the antigen component of HBsAg/anti-HBs soluble immune complexes at concentrations of at least 20 ng/ml and either in antigen or antibody excess. Our results indicate that HBsAg circulates in a complexed form in 47% of HBsAg chronic carriers and in 10.7% of patients with liver disease who are positive for serum antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) and to core antigen (anti-HBc). None of the other groups of patients in the study had circulating HBsAg in the complexed form.

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