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Hepatology. 1993 Apr;17(4):538-44.

Hepatitis B virus DNA in serum and liver is commonly found in Chinese patients with chronic liver disease despite the presence of antibodies to HBsAg.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Lund, Malmö General Hospital, Sweden.


Sera from 410 patients from the Wuhan area in the central part of China with the diagnosis of chronic liver disease were analyzed for markers of hepatitis B, C and D virus infections. All sera, plus liver biopsy specimens from 188 of the patients, were also tested for hepatitis B virus DNA by polymerase chain reaction. Sixty-eight percent were HBsAg positive in serum, whereas 29% showed markers of past hepatitis B virus infection. Hepatitis B virus DNA was detected in all HBeAg-positive sera but also in 58% of patients with HBe antibody. In the liver specimens of the corresponding patient groups, 97% and 78%, respectively, were hepatitis B virus DNA positive. However, more noteworthy was that of the HBsAg-negative/HBs-antibody positive patients 30% had detectable hepatitis B virus DNA in serum and 32% had hepatitis B virus DNA in liver tissue, whereas in a control group of healthy blood donors, of which 90% had HBs antibody, none was hepatitis B virus DNA positive. Our results demonstrate that among patients with chronic liver disease, infections with hepatitis B virus or hepatitis B virus-related virus(es) may frequently occur without being revealed by conventional serological methods. Hepatitis C and D viruses seem to be of only minor importance in the pathogenesis of chronic liver disease in this part of China.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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